The Ordinary Lands The Daily Meal’s Restaurant of the Year Title

theordinaryWrapping up an inaugural year which brought best new restaurant nods from GQ, Esquire and Bon Appetit – as well as a James Beard nomination in the same category – The Ordinary this week was picked as The Daily Meal’s Restaurant of the Year.

To qualify for the website’s prize, based on the votes of two dozen panelists, restaurants had to have opened this year and received stellar reviews. Weirdly, contributing to the echo chamber nature of restaurant assessment, “they had to have made a major splash” was also a criterion.

Mike Lata’s The Ordinary qualified handily, winning twice as many votes as its nearest competitor. Other Southern restaurants under consideration included Nashville’s Rolf and Daughters; Atlanta’s King + Duke and New Orleans’ Mariza (if I’d been on the panel, I would have backed Peche.) Continue reading

The Ordinary Surfaces on Another Best New Restaurant List

ordinteriorThe Ordinary, which has already been anointed a “best new restaurant” by Conde Nast Traveler, Southern Living and Bon Appetit, today earned the same designation from Esquire magazine.

Critic John Mariani’s southern-leaning list (if I was still working in Seattle, I’d have been obliged to note there isn’t a single Pacific Northwestern restaurant represented) also includes Atlanta’s King + Duke; Nashville’s Rolf and Daughters; New Orleans’ Mariza and two Dallas entries.

Praising chef Mike Lata’s deliberate restaurant-opening pace, Mariani writes, “a decade after opening Fig — still one of the best restaurants on the Eastern Seaboard — he has unleashed the Ordinary, whose name belies the canny intelligence that went into making it a bellwether American seafood house built within the stately lineaments of a historic bank building, with sixteen-foot Palladian-arch windows and a backlit skylight.” Continue reading