> Location: New York, New York
> Fixed-price menu per person (gratuity included) $595
Chef Masayoshi Takayama’s exquisite omakase (chef’s choice) sushi restaurant in the Time-Warner Center was the first Japanese restaurant in America to earn three Michelin stars (there is only one other one so honored, SingleThread in the Napa Valley). Luxury ingredients, like finely minced toro (bluefin tuna belly) with a heap of oscetra caviar or Maine sea urchin with white truffles, are interspersed with flawless versions of more familiar sushi preparations, made with the highest quality fish and shellfish.
> Location: San Francisco, California
> Fixed-price menu per person (food only) $310
Korean-born Corey Lee, a former head chef at Thomas Keller’s French Laundry (see No. 4), opened this landmark of modernist cuisine in 2010, earning three Michelin stars four years later. His Asian-inflected contemporary American fixed-price menu might include such exotica as caramelized anchovy with potato salad, frog’s leg with mountain yam, and baked ham with fish maw (dried swim bladders of croaker or other fish) and black truffle.
> Location: Beverly Hills, California
> Average price per person (food only) $157 (fixed-price menu, $145)
The ubiquitous Wolfgang Puck revolutionized American dining when he opened the original Spago in 1982, proving that a serious chef could cook high-quality food in a casual atmosphere (a new idea at the time) and creating a whole new genre of “California” pizza along the way — along with other distinctly Californian grilled dishes, salads, etc. Puck opened this second Spago, in Beverly Hills, in 1997, subsequently closing the original. Spago today has evolved from its pizza days (though a few pizzas are still served at lunchtime and on the bar menu), into one of the most refined upscale restaurants in the state. Examples of the cuisine? Squid-ink garganelli pasta with Maine lobster and sweet onions, slow-roasted turbot with morels and peas, and Colorado lamb rack with falafel “macarons” and smoky eggplant, and coconut panna cotta with blackberries and cactus-pear-mezcal sorbet.
7. The Inn at Little Washington
> Location: Washington, Virginia
> Fixed-price menu per person (food only) $238
The dining room in an elegant country inn in Washington, Virginia — about 60 miles southwest of its better-known counterpart — chef-proprietor Patrick O’Connell’s Michelin three-star establishment serves such highly original dishes as “curious beet noodles” with caviar and lemon-vodka vinaigrette, “star-kissed” tuna and foie gras confit, and “a Lilliputian pomegranate and maple Dreamsicle.”
6. Per Se
> Location: New York, New York
> Fixed-price menu per person (gratuity included) $225 and $355
When Thomas Keller opened this East Coast counterpart to his celebrated French Laundry in the Napa Valley (see No. 4) in 2004, its menu closely echoed the latter’s. Today, after a revamp prompted by a stinging 2016 takedown of the place by The New York Times, demoting it from four stars to two, it goes its own way with great verve and imagination. (It still has three Michelin stars.) Hudson Valley foie gras with poached apricots and hazelnut purée, confit fillet of Pacific halibut with creamed ramp tops and green almonds, and veal rib-eye with short rib raviolo and morels and just a few of the offerings on the extensive fixed-price menu.