Best Restaurants 2017: New Kids on the Block

Fortune Noodle House

Photograph by Dustin Powell Sparks

It was only three years ago that we had enough additions to the dining scene to fill the entire “Where to Eat Now” package with new restaurants. Plenty more have since joined the fray, but this year, two spots were especially worth noting. Fortune Noodle House took over prime Clifton corner real estate in early 2016, offering hand-pulled (Watch through the window!) la mian noodles in giant bowls with plenty of savory broth. The less adventurous can stick to classic shredded pork or sliced beef with bok choy, but those willing to take some risks will be richly rewarded. Don’t miss the shredded pig’s ear appetizer, fragrant with garlic and cilantro. Suan cai is pickled napa cabbage, and it lends briny depth to Fortune Noodle’s sour vegetable soup. We added beef, but there are vegetarian options (like the “Asian mushroom lover”) as well. And while Fortune Noodle still doesn’t have a liquor license, OTR’s newest knockout, Pleasantry, is all about the bottle. Joanna Argus Kirkendall and Daniel Souder have one goal and that’s to widen your wine drinking horizons. Never had orange wine? Sample a bottle made from trebbiano, malvasia, and grechetto grapes fermented with their skins still on. Or perhaps you’d prefer to work your way through their fairly esoteric by-the-glass list. Either way, you’re going to need snacks. Chef Evan Hartman has an unfussy way with seasonal vegetables and deploys bold hits of flavor. We’re still dreaming about his sambal roasted cauliflower, brown butter potatoes with bottarga (cured fish roe), and chocolate cake with brie. Don’t be fooled by Pleasantry’s lo-fi neighborhood vibe. This is cutting edge cuisine, affordably priced.

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