The smallest jewel in Gerard Craft’s empire, Taste is a top-notch cocktail bar, a crucible of talent (previous chefs have included Matthew Daughaday of Reeds American Table and Adam Altnether, who will return to restaurant cooking this year at Elmwood in Maplewood) and the place for small plates that punch well above their weight and price tag in creativity and flavor. Recent standouts from current chef Adam Guess include charred baby octopus atop a scallion pancake drizzled with gochujang mayo and Brussels sprouts with candied walnuts and a chile soubise (habanero when I ordered it; scorpion as I write this). For a change-of-pace snack or dessert, try the tempura-fried banana with batavia-arrack sauce.
Hours: Dinner daily
Last year's ranking: No. 17
Must order: Menu changes frequently