New U.S. Restaurants Sizzle for Spring

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. ( MainStreet) -- Spring 2012 is proving to be a busy season for U.S. restaurateurs, including some much-anticipated openings and debuts that have already made headlines nationwide. The roster has no shortage of starry names, from three-star Michelin chefs such as Daniel Humm and Gordon Ramsay to Top Chef alums and culinary elite debuting in cities across the U.S.

In New York, the developers behind the highly-success Ace Hotel New York recently opened the NoMad Hotel, a grandiose and moody hotel sibling designed by Jacques Garcia (the man behind such properties as Hotel Costes in Paris). The hotel mixes turn-of-the-century glamour and a high-fashion edge that extends to its in-house eatery, helmed by Humm of Eleven Madison Park and restaurateur Will Guidara. A series of connected parlor rooms include a grand atrium space where designer Garcia mixes ruby red decor with shiny woodwork and walls strewn in Audubon-style prints. The menu continues Humm's culinary narrative of Eleven Madison Park with dishes inspired by time spent in Switzerland and California for an all-day dining room menu that's already giving The Breslin a run for its foodie money.
In South Florida, the much-anticipated St. Regis Bal Harbour opened its doors this year with a showy installment of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill.

In South Florida, the much-anticipated St. Regis Bal Harbour opened its doors this year with a showy installment of J&G Grill. The design comes compliments of the Seiger Suarez Architectural Partnership, with dramatic interiors by Yabu Pushelberg (whose work can also be seen at Tribeca's Smyth Hotel and W Hotel Times Square). There are J&G Steakhouse installments from Phoenix, Ariz., to D.C.: this is the first Jean-Georges Vongerichten eatery at the beach, and it comes with an floor-to-ceiling windows that loom out over a beachfront pool and palm-strewn Atlantic. While a fancy destination for dinner, the views (not to mention dishes such as spring pea soup with sourdough croutons, black truffle and Fontina cheese pizza and center-cut filet mignon with heaping sauteed Maitake mushrooms with a drizzling of lime) make it a perfect post-shopping lunch.

In Chicago, Nellcote occupies the former Marche restaurant space on Randolph Street. It's become the hottest restaurant reservation in town. Owned by the Element Collective, which also operates Chicago's popular Socialista, Nellcote is inspired by an infamous mansion along the French Riviera known for its Belle Epoque revival style and as a popular romping place for the Rolling Stones in the '70s. Nellcote has a grand dining room that mixes concrete and iron with more refined details, such as Louis XVI chairs, crystal chandeliers and white-washed herringbone floors fit for modern-day Marie Antoinettes and even Taylor Momsen -- who recently did a late-night DJ set. But chef Jared Van Camp is king here, and a worthy one at that. He watches over a refined menu with French, Italian and Spanish influences, but translated through ingredients sourced exclusively from the Midwest.

When it opens in the coming weeks, The Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino promises culinary magic. Ramsay is to take over the resort's culinary marquee with a showstopper dining room worthy of the chef and the address. With entree onto the American dining scene via signatures eateries in New York and L.A., Gordon Ramsay Steak transforms the former Les Artistes Steak House into a Brits-meet-Baz Luhrmann fantasy, complete with dining room emblazed with a Union Jack and intricate ceiling mobile that swaps Calder for culinary wizardry. Ramsay oversees a culinary team that uses his own signature beef-aging program for dishes that include traditional steakhouse fare and English staples from fish and chips to shepherd's pie.

In San Francisco, where new restaurants are covered by local press with paparazzi-like frenzy, excitement continues to build for the latest eatery by Flour + Water chef Thomas McNaughton. Known for its legendary pasta dishes and Neapolitan-style pizza, McNaughton's Mission District eatery is still one of the hardest reservations in town despite being almost three years old. His Central Kitchen is slated to open by the end of spring in a grittier part of Mission District inside a converted warehouse structure. While the menu has yet to be unveiled, reports suggest a deviation from the pasta/pizza norm to dishes with a fancier edge. Additionally, the location will be home to Salumeria, a casual gourmet deli shop for all those who can't get through the door for the first year or so.
Michael Martin is the managing editor of, a luxury travel and lifestyle guide based in Los Angeles and London. His work has appeared in InStyle, Blackbook, Elle, U.K.'s Red magazine and on ITV and the BBC.