The hotel dining scene keeps getting better and better, with celebrity chefs and restaurant-design supernovas striking up more partnerships and inking more development deals. It all has the foodie world abuzz with anticipation on who might land a coveted spot on Bon Appétit's list of America's Best New Restaurants 2019. Here are six hotel restaurants that have opened in the past month with some significant culinary star power and buzz-worthy design chops.
• On the Las Vegas culinary front, the much-anticipated NoMad Restaurant, above, finally made its debut this month in the NoMad Hotel, which occupies the top four floors of the Park MGM. At the establishment's helm is chef Daniel Humm of the three-Michelin-starred New York City restaurant Eleven Madison Park, which ranked No. 1 on the World's 50 Best Restaurants List 2017. The menu features signature dishes from the brand's New York City and Los Angeles outposts, like the legendary roast chicken stuffed with foie gras, black truffle and brioche, and the steak tartare, which is prepared tableside.
The restaurant's design, which was inspired by the Royal Portuguese Cabinet of Reading in Rio de Janeiro, is as breathtaking as the food, with 23-foot ceilings, grand chandeliers and shelves filled with close to 25,000 books. Hot on its heels are two other Park MGM eateries slated to open by year-end: Best Friend by Los Angeles restaurateur Roy Choi, and Eataly, that all-things Italian market-restaurant concept, whose flagship became a New York City sensation featuring cafes, to-go counters, restaurants, a pizzeria and a bakery.
• Tribute at the Houstonian Hotel, Club & Spa, which opened at the end of October, is the newest entry for longtime Houstonian chef Neal Cox, who earned his cooking stripes at several popular city eateries, including Américas and Pappas Bros Steakhouse. The Texas-centric menu, which takes inspiration from Louisiana and Mexico, features fresh Gulf Coast oysters cooked on a wood-burning grill, redfish on the half shell, braised cabrito, smoked Wagyu beef ribs and rib-eye steaks. Cox handpicked noted sommelier Vanessa Trevino-Boyd to curate the restaurant's pairing list that, besides a selection of wines, features an array of 25 rye whiskeys. For a truly memorable meal, groups of four can reserve the private wine room and dine under a "waterfall" consisting of 4,000 wine bottles. And, because it's all kept at 57 degrees Fahrenheit, there are UGG blankets on hand to stay cozy.
• Little Fib has opened in the lobby of the Renaissance Nashville Hotel. Sure to be one of the most talked-about eateries near Bridgestone Arena, which is just around the corner, Little Fib's menu is all about Southern-inspired food like crab-cake hush puppies, tea-brined smoked wings, fried catfish and grits. Heading it up is acclaimed chef James Kerwin, who comes to Nashville by way of Detroit; you might recognize his name from Chicago's now-closed Bonsoiree restaurant, where he earned a Michelin star. There's a 26-seat bar, two private dining tables and combined seating for 185.
• Chef David Burke has won more best-chef awards than you can wrap your pasta fork around, and now he has opened his first restaurant in St. Louis, in the Angad Arts Hotel in St. Louis. The two-story Grand Tavern by David Burke features classic and contemporary American cuisine with a twist. On the menu are some of the chef's signature dishes, like his clothesline bacon (strips of thick bacon slathered in maple syrup served up hanging from a miniature clothesline), lobster dumplings, pastrami salami and steaks dry-aged with his patented process using Himalayan salt bricks. The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch.
• Carpenters Hall in the newly opened Carpenter Hotel in Austin, Texas, is headed up by chef Grae Nonas, who was a finalist for the James Beard Awards' Rising Star of the Year category in 2015 and 2016, and named to Food & Wine's 2015 list of Best New Chefs. The down-home décor is a combination of diner chic and road-house barbeque joint, with turquoise paneling, bent-wood furniture, fluorescent-tube lighting and white subway tiles. Heart-shaped waffles and Spanish fried eggs with beef-cheek barbacoa are on the breakfast menu, while dinner dishes span the globe from chicken schnitzel with a black garlic chimichurri, to cavatelli with lemon and black pepper, and steak frites with horseradish sauce.
• In Florida, the newly renovated 83-room Fenway Hotel in Dunedin, a member of Marriott's Autograph Collection, is once again accepting guests. Originally opened in 1927, it was an icon of the Jazz Age and a gathering place for the who's who crowd. Now folks are back and flocking to its Hew Parlor & Chophouse, named for Herman Everett Wendell, the building's original architect. The parlor bar showcases an extensive whisky and Scotch collection inspired by Dunedin's Scottish heritage, while the 22-seat chef's counter gives diners a front seat to the inner workings of the kitchen, headed by executive chef Adam Hyatt. There is also private dining for up to 30 in two additional rooms. On the menu are classic chophouse offerings from beef and lamb to pork and boar, and all the classic side dishes. But the house-made pasta with Maine lobster, chive oil and truffle foam, it turns out, is the most requested dish.