The Top 10 Best New Restaurants of 2012


Cooks County



952 South Broadway


After headlining a run of pop-ups, 27-year-old Ari Taymor claimed a former kabob spot on the raggedy end of Broadway, a burlap bag doubling as signage and window dressing. The prices are modest; the curiosity is rampant. Corn and bacon beignets are jolted by a salt of burned citrus peel. Spatula-flattened roasted fingerlings are just right for heaping with smoked onion crème fraîche and sustainable caviar (a mere $6). Taymor is ever ready to whip things into a foam, but he’s also comfortable letting us appreciate the miracle of small things: the way house-cultured butter complements warm miso-buckwheat rolls or a brown butter hollandaise enriches braised grass-fed beef. Just hope that he’s offering black sesame panna cotta with smoked date on the night you go. Pop-ups are great, but balancing inspiration with consistency and routine—these are the quiet changes that occur when a chef signs a lease.