With the season eleven premiere of ‘Top Chef’ in New Orleans just days away (27 to be precise, as it airs Oct 2. on Bravo), we’re thinking about past seasons and some of its most celebrated “chef-testants.” Luckily for New Yorkers and those visiting the city, some of the best of the ‘Top Chef’ chefs have excellent eateries in the Big Apple. So while you’re waiting to see what Padma will wear and which of the new crop of chefs the judges — Tom Colicchio, Gail Simmons, High Acheson and Emeril Lagasse — will love and hate, here are four Top Chef stars with great restaurants in New York to keep you from going hungry right now.
Dale Talde: Talde, Pork Slope, Thistle Hill Tavern
After starring on Top Chef and Top Chef All-Stars, Dale returned to NYC to open his flagship Talde: an Asian-inspired restaurant that’s been a smash-hit since the day it opened. Go there to experience Talde’s adventurous style, or to the other two spots he and his partners have opened: Pork Slope, a dive bar in the best of ways with great burgers and nachos, or Thistle Hill Tavern for modern American fare. Talde: 369 Seventh Ave., Brooklyn, 347-916-0031, taldebrooklyn.com; Pork Slope: 247 Fifth Ave., 718-768-7675, porkslopebrooklyn.com; Thistle Hill Tavern: 441 Seventh Ave., 347-599-1262, thistlehillbrooklyn.com
Harold Dieterle: Perilla, Kin Shop, The Marrow
When you meet the winner of Top Chef season one, you’re struck by how much Harold Dieterle doesn’t seem like a TV star: he’s all focus and grit, a fun guy but one who hardly seeks out the spotlight for himself. Instead, he lets his excellent West Village restaurants do the talking: Perilla, an elegant, intimate first-date or anniversary spot; Kin Shop, with a wholly original take on Thai fare; or The Marrow, drawing from the foods of Dieterle’s German-Italian heritage. Perilla: 9 Jones St., 212-929-6868, perillanyc.com; Kin Shop: 469 Sixth Ave., 212-675-4295, kinshopnyc.com; The Marrow: 99 Bank St., 212-428-6000, themarrownyc.com
Leah Cohen: Pig and Khao
Cohen may have been best known for drama with another “chef-testant,” but these days all anyone talks about is her Lower East Side spot Pig and Khao — a stripped-down, lively Southeast Asian spot inspired primarily by Thailand and the Philippines. Get a seat near the open kitchen and watch her in action. 68 Clinton St., 212-920-4485, pigandkhao.com
Tom Colicchio: Craft, Craftbar, Colicchio and Sons and more
The big daddy himself, Colicchio has served as the head judge on Top Chef since its first episodes, and a meal at one of his NYC restaurants will help you understand why. Head to Craftbar for a causal, but still upscale lunch or dinner; to Colicchio and Sons (we love the Tap Room up front) for an excellent meal at a reasonable price; or to Craft for true special occasions. Craft: 43 E. 19th St., 212-780-0880, craftrestaurant.com; Craftbar: 900 Broadway, 212-461-4300, craftrestaurantsinc.com/craftbar-new-york; Colicchio and Sons: 85 Tenth Ave., 212-400-6699, craftrestaurantsinc.com/colicchio-and-sons
Discover more of top places to see and things to do while in New York City with our Best of New York series.