As anyone who has sweated through a meal at New York City's Mission Chinese can tell you, 2012 was a great year for new restaurants. Will 2013 be even better? We certainly hope so. Some of America's most celebrated chefs have new projects slated for the coming year, including the molecular-gastronomy guru Wylie Dufresne and L.A.'s wandering genius, Ludo Lefebvre. We hope you're serious about that New Year's resolution to hit the gym—you're going to need to after indulging at 2013's hottest new restaurants.
New York CityAlder
Wylie Dufresne has spent the past decade wowing food nerds at his Lower East Side restaurant, wd~50. Now he's letting his hair down with Alder, a 50-seat pub serving a more casual rendition of his gastronomic wizardry, paired with what will undoubtedly be some of New York City's more inventive cocktails. Expect for it to be perpetually packed after opening night with gourmands looking to sample wd~50's scientifically adventurous cuisine without wd~50's prices.
Alder is slated to open in early spring. Carbone
The people waiting in line to get into NoHo's Torrisi Italian Specialties will soon have another hot spot to flock to. Carbone, named for Torrisi and Parm's co-owner, Mario Carbone, will give the West Village a taste of upscale Italian-American classics such as linguine with clams and chicken scarpariello. To ensure that authentic Godfather feel, the restaurant is being built in the renovated husk of Rocco, an old-school red-sauce joint that stood for 90 years.
Carbone will open in late 2013 (or early 2014).
Los AngelesTrois Mec
In 2013, L.A.'s tattooed culinary savants will unite to create the ultimate restaurant dream team. Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, the men behind Animal and its seafood-centric counterpart, Son of a Gun, will join forces with Ludo Lefebvre, of the impossibly hip pop-up LudoBites, to open Trois Mec in a Melrose Avenue strip mall. Better start looking for parking now.
Trois Mec is set to open in early 2013.
MiamiSwine Southern Table & Bar
Yardbird, helmed by Top Chef alum Jeff McInnis, has been a hit ever since it opened in South Beach in 2011. Swine will share a similar focus on modern southern cuisine, except instead of fried chicken it will specialize in smoked and barbecued heritage-breed pork. The bar will complement the menu with a variety of whiskey-centric cocktails.
Swine will open in late 2013.
Longman & Eagle shocked Chicago foodies when it earned a Michelin star in 2010. Co-owners Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden hope to replicate their success with the Promontory, which tweaks their restaurant-bar-inn concept with a restaurant-bar-concert venue in Hyde Park. The pair aren't revealing any details about the menu yet, but fans of Longman & Eagle's nose-to-tail cuisine and massive whiskey selection should be excited all the same.
The Promontory will open in early 2013.
Ming Tsai's Blue Ginger was one of the first restaurants to do Asian fusion right in the nineties, earning him a string of TV shows, including East Meets West and, currently, Simply Ming. Now Tsai is turning his attention away from high-end seafood to Asian-inflected pub fare. The kitchen in his 75-seat gastropub, located on the Boston waterfront, will turn out dishes like chile-ginger-sloppy-joe sliders and Indonesian-curry shepherd's pie.
Blue Dragon will open in early 2013.
—Keith Wagstaff is a writer and editor based in Brooklyn. Follow him @kwagstaff.