Stories / Awards

What Makes for a True Signature Dish?

Frank Guerriero

April 26, 2019


Photo: Bonjwing Lee

For those opening up shop in a cramped field of talented culinary newcomers, standing out among the crowd is paramount. To learn how America’s best kitchens tackle this challenge, we reached out to our 2019 nominees for Best New Restaurant, and they enthusiastically dished on the plates they’re most proud to call their own. From sustainability-conscious salads to family-style barbecue, here are the signature dishes from the cream of last year’s new restaurant crop.


Angler, San Francisco

Radicchio XO (pictured above): Radicchio XO is a signature dish, although I’d consider [all] dishes we make “signature” since the style of cooking is unique to us. We’re also always thinking about sustainability and zero waste. I just calibrated the dish to what I thought would be pleasurable to eat; I also like salad.—Founder Joshua Skenes

Atomix, NYC

Photo: Diane Kang

Sukchae: Atomix is not a traditional Korean restaurant; rather, it's a restaurant that aims to showcase both Western techniques as well as Korea's deep-rooted, traditional culture of jang and fermentation. Because of this aspiration of Atomix, we believe that the sukchae dish—which at once exemplifies Korea's jang and refined technique—is a great example of the cuisine of Atomix.—Co-Owner Ellia Park

Frenchette, NYC

Photo: Louise Palmberg

Duck Frites: For the duck, we wanted to satisfy the primal simplicity of a classic steak frites and cue that Frenchette is a bit of an out-of-the-box Brasserie.—Co-Chef/Owners Riad Nasr and Lee Hanson 

Majordomo, Los Angeles

Photo: Andrew Bezek

Whole Plate Short Rib: The dish itself combines Korean and Texas BBQ traditions. The rack of bone-in smoked short rib is presented to the table on a trolley, carved table-side, and served with various condiments including salt-and-pepper sesame oil, house kimchi, ssamjang, daikon pickles, shiso leaf, rice paper, and various lettuces so that guests can build DIY wraps. As the guests are enjoying the first round, the server returns with a pot of beef-scrap fried rice. The experience of eating this dish is a wonderful representation of our approach to communal, interactive dining.—The Majordomo Team

Bavel, Los Angeles 

Photo: Bavel Restaurant

Lamb Neck Shawarma: I love that it is a centerpiece on the table that gets people to share an experience together. Having a convivial interaction with the food gives you more of a family festive atmosphere. It helps that you have to eat all of it with your hands. It is also a connection between the two restaurants, Bestia and Bavel. It's the only protein that we serve at both restaurants; they just have different preparations.—Chef Ori Menashe 

Photo: Nicole Franzen

Licorice Bon Bon: I have never been a fan of licorice, and what I love about this is that this is a dessert that even people who don't like licorice still love. When people see it on the menu and then they taste it, it's not what they expect and everyone is always surprised.—Chef Genevieve Gergis


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Frank Guerriero is the media assistant at the Beard Foundation. Find him on Instagram.