Epicurious (the thinly disguised online incarnation of Gourmet Magazine) has recently launched their 2004 restaurant guide, which covers 30 major metropolitan areas in the US. Its a handy little thing for those who might be visiting a new city on business or those who are looking for an easily digestible set of recommendations instead of an entire Zagat Guide.
Gourmet’s guide is simply organized by city and has two categories, “Big Deal” for fancy places and “Good Deal” for good values. No nonsense, easy to understand. Its not clear exactly what criteria went into the selection of their more expensive restaurants. In San Francisco they’ve picked Quince, which is definitely a hot new thing, but also Town Hall, which is good but hardly worth fussing over, and The Slanted Door which still delivers great food but belongs in the “so 1996” category.
For those who dine out on a regular basis, the fact that each of these categories only contains between one and four restaurants per city means that its hardly a relevant guide to your home city, but I plan on using it next time I find myself in, say, Providence, RI with no clue where to eat.