Opinionated About U.S. Restaurants 2011 is the first comprehensive guide to dining in the U.S. Covering every type of restaurant from fine establishments to cheap-eats places, it includes reviews of over 1,800 restaurants around the country. Derived from a survey of diners along with the authors own experiences, the ratings are calculated with a methodology that weighs reviewers’ votes based on their dining experience. This unique, proprietary system yields ratings that the dedicated dining hobbyist who travels around the country to eat will find useful.
The guide is divided into eight distinct dining regions, each one revolving around the region’s major city. Chapters include: Atlanta and the South; Boston and New England; Chicago and the Midwest; Las Vegas and the Southwest; Los Angeles, Southern California & Hawaii; New York Metropolitan Area, Long Island and Upstate New York; San Francisco, Northern California and the Pacific Northwest; and Washington DC and the Mid-Atlantic States. Each chapter is organized alphabetically by city, with restaurants listed by rank, in descending order. In addition to restaurant reviews, each chapter has a corresponding map that shows the location of the region’s top restaurants. The guide also features articles on domestic oysters, cheese and beer.
Key to the book is the author’s philosophy about food and dining out. In the introduction he covers such topics whether taste is subjective or objective, the contemporary dining experience from a historical perspective and what makes someone go out to eat as opposed to cooking at home. He weighs in on the age-old debate of the relative importance of ingredients versus technique in creating fine cuisine, analyzes what impact a restaurant’s size has on a diner’s ability to have a good meal, discusses the impact of modern versus traditional culinary techniques and analyzes culinary style trends. Opinionated About U.S. Restaurants 2011 also contains a section offering tips on how to improve your dining experience, as well as a tribute to the how the American diner has come of age .
Author Steve Plotnicki has been a vocal participant in various online food and wine communities for the past 15 years. In 2003, he launched the Opinionated About Dining on-line discussion forum, and in 2004 he began a popular blog under the same name. The mainstream food media regularly links to his articles commenting on the quirks of modern dining, and in 2010, Anthony Bourdain tapped him to appear in an episode of his No Reservations television program, which featured people who were obsessed with food. But Plotnicki’s crowning achievement as a diner is documented in the New York chapter of Jay Rayner’s book, The Man Who Ate the World, where, at the author’s request, he tried to find the perfect meal. Rising to the challenge, he created a dinner where he and Rayner managed to eat at Jean Georges, Per Se, Bouley, Eleven Madison Park and WD-50 all in the same evening! No wonder New York City chef David Chang says, “Steve Plotnicki is America’s greatest diner.”