Like the Oscars of the food world, the James Beard Awards generate media hype and provoke intense speculation. Tonight, May 6th and on Monday, May 9th, food-lovers, journalists, and chefs will watch as the winners are announced. Five of America's most famous restaurants compete in the Outstanding Restaurant category. 1. Blue Hill: Dan Barber's Blue Hill is an ultimate expression of local eating-at Stone Barns, the Blue Hill Farm supplies his adjacent restaurant and a Manhattan outpost with fresh produce. The restaurant prides itself on a responsible, educational, and incredibly enjoyable dining experience.
2. Boulevard: Open since 1993, Boulevard serves regional American food with San Francisco flair. Chef Nancy Oakes focuses on using local products, including Monterey red abalone, local black cod, and California sea bass.
3. Eleven Madison Park: In Frank Bruni's last review for the New York Times, he awarded Eleven Madison Park four stars. Its new menu encourages dialogue between diner and staff, listing only the main ingredients in dishes. Daniel Humm, winner of Best Chef-New York City 2010, presides over the kitchen.
4. Highlands Bar and Grill: In Birmingham, Alabama Frank Stitt serves elegant French food at Highlands Bar and Grill. With locally-sourced ingredients, Stitt honors Southern traditions like grits and oyster preparations of all kinds.
5. Vetri: At Vetri, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Marc Vetri cooks some of the country's finest Italian food. In Bergamo, Italy, Vetri learned the art of Italian cookery-his bold pastas and contemporary touch have been electrifying Philadelphia for over a decade.
Which restaurant do you think should win Outstanding Restaurant this year? For more on the James Beard Awards click here.