The Restaurant Bucket List
About six years ago, I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish in my life. This is pretty common now, but back then I had no idea what to call it. It was like, “Scott’s list of things he wants to do” or “Scott’s master list of cool things.” There was no possible way to make it not awkward and weird, until The Bucket List came out, which left little impact on American film society other than the invaluable contribution it made to all of our “master lists.” We now had a name! And my bucket list is now neatly saved and organized and full of things I have no prayer accomplishing anytime soon like “win a golf tournament,” “throw a first pitch” and “voice a cartoon.”
Not satisfied with having just one big list of things I’ll never accomplish, I recently set out to add a second list. Six months of caring about and writing about food (and blowing through three seasons of Top Chef on DVD like they were the nightly news) led to the Restaurant Bucket List—a neatly organized and aptly named list of places I want to eat before I die.
The reason for the list is obvious—the list of quality local restaurants I’ve eaten at in my first 24 years is about as impressive as the list of quality accomplishments I’ve checked off my real Bucket List. (I’ve marked off a whopping eight things out of the 90 on my list, one of which is “eat a Milano” and probably shouldn’t count.)
So here are the first 10 entries on my Restaurant Bucket List. What’s important to note is that the list isn’t entirely comprised of necessarily “amazing” restaurants. It’s just places I’d like to eat at sometime to say I got the experience. Kind of like how “eat a Milano” was something I just wanted to do. (Hey, the commercials looked good.) And, unfortunately, just as “see a shuttle launch” was ceremoniously scratched off my real Bucket List over the summer, El Bulli (R.I.P.) will have to be killed from the Restaurant version. Too bad. Like I ever had a chance at eating there anyway.
There are different reasons for a restaurant to show up on the list. Some are not shockers. Maybe it’s considered one of the country’s best (Nos. 1-4), it has a star chef (basically all of them), my wife ate there once and talks about it all the time and I’m jealous (No. 5), or maybe I just drive by it every day and wish I had the occasion to go in (No. 7). These are just 10 of many. Either way, here’s hoping I have a better success rate on these than I do on the other wonderful life accomplishments I’m not making much progress on.
1. The French Laundry—Yountville, Ca.
2. Per Se—New York, N.Y.
3. Alinea—Chicago, Ill.
4. Le Bernadin—New York, N.Y.
5. Acqua Al 2—Washington, D.C./San Diego, Ca.
6. Restaurant August—New Orleans, La.
7. Flyte—Nashville, Tenn.
8. wd-50—New York, N.Y.
9. Frontera Grill—Chicago
10. Highlands Bar & Grill—Birmingham, Ala.
What’s on your Restaurant Bucket List?