Esquire names Phoenix's Chilte, Lom Wong among 2023's top restaurants
Two of the most notable new eateries in the U.S. are in Phoenix, according to Esquire, which released its list of the top 50 new restaurants of 2023 on Tuesday.
How it works: Esquire reviewers sampled about 200 restaurants across the country over the past year and narrowed down the list.
Chilte: Chef Lawrence "LT" Smith "brings a carnal joy to new Mexican cuisine" at Chilte, which opened in February at the renovated Egyptian Motor Lodge. "Each bite is a wonder. Heat lightning crackles on the horizon," per Esquire.
- The magazine talked up Santa Quesadilla with grilled chicken heart asiento; the Black Pink, with Argentine prawns and chocolate aguachile; and the tacos de birria.
- Of note: This isn't the first top restaurants list to include Chilte this year. Bon Appetit featured the Grand Avenue eatery on its annual list of the top 24 new American restaurants.
Lom Wong: "From one angle, Lom Wong is simply a very good restaurant. From another angle — after one or two shots of ya dong, a powerful Thai moonshine — it's proof of, if not a divine being, then at least the benevolent tilt of the universe," Esquire's Joshua David Stein wrote of the downtown Phoenix Thai restaurant.
- The reviewers were smitten with the sea bass curry, noting that one-third of the menu is devoted to "seldom seen" specialties of Thailand's Moklen tribe.
- Another third of the menu is recipes inspired by co-owner Yokata "Sunny" Martin's mother and grandmother in the northern part of the country, and another third are from central Thailand.
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