Photo by Michael Thomas


Annie Gunn's

A photograph of the veal sweetbreads I ordered at a recent dinner at Annie Gunn’s wouldn’t have looked out of place in the pages of Bon Appétit. The sweetbreads — as crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside as any I’ve eaten — were spread across a swipe of cashew butter. Scattered artfully atop them was a tangle of cilantro, onion and pepper. It evoked, by design, the flavors of pad thai. My entree that evening also crossed culinary borders: redfish, a daily seafood special, chile-rubbed and then roasted. Yet the presentation was endearingly old-school, with the fish served over rice with a side of mixed vegetables. Lou Rook III has been the chef at Annie Gunn’s for nearly a quarter-century now, and his kitchen can still move effortlessly between contemporary styles and classic plates, between burgers and USDA Prime steaks topped with sauteed foie gras.

Last year's ranking: 22

Opened: 1936 (as the Smokehouse Market)

Must order: Menu changes frequently