Fiola and Little Serow were among the semifinalists named for best new restaurant in America, the James Beard Foundation announced today. Overall, more than 20 area chefs, restaurateurs and restaurants were included in the foundation’s list of semifinalists for the 2012 James Beard Award.
Johnny Monis’s Little Serow and Fabio Trabocchi’s Fiola, both of which scored well with Post food critic Tom Sietsema right out of the gate, were among 29 places nominated for best new restaurant. The one possible local snub is Enzo Fargione’s Elisir, which Sietsema just awarded 2 1/2 stars on Sunday.
Among the other local nominees are Palena’s Frank Ruta and Birch & Barley’s Tiffany MacIsaac, who were selected as semifinalists in the outstanding chef and outstanding pastry chef categories respectively. Fellow Birch & Barley fixture Greg Engert, beer director for the parent Neighborhood Restaurant Group, was nominated in the outstanding wine and spirits professional category, while Ashok Bajaj, owner of the Knightsbridge Restaurant Group (which includes Rasika and The Oval Room), was a semifinalist for outstanding restaurateur.
Speaking of The Oval Room and Rasika, the chefs for both places were among the area nominees for best chef, Mid-Atlantic. Aside from Tony Conte of the Oval Room and Vikram Sunderam of Rasika, the local semifinalists include Cathal Armstrong of Restaurant Eve, Scott Drewno of The Source, Spike Gjerde of Woodberry Kitchen in Baltimore, Peter Pastan of Obelisk, Bryan Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick, Cindy Wolf of Charleston in Baltimore and Monis of Komi.
Other semifinalists include The Columbia Room in Washington and PX in Alexandria for outstanding bar program; Charleston, CityZen and Restaurant Eve for outstanding wine service; Restaurant Eve for outstanding service; and Charleston and Marcel’s for outstanding restaurant in the country.
The final nominees will be announced on March 19. The complete list of semifinalists can be found here.
All We Can Eat passes along congratulations to all of the semifinalists.