I know a lot of these awards have their flaws, but does it seem like today's list of semifinalists for outstanding restaurant seem a little "weak"? If I never saw this list and saw any of these restaurants win it in May, I'd be very surprised.
I obviously haven't dined in all the cities, but for the major cities that I've been to/dined in/researched (NYC, SF, LA, Chicago, Philly, DC, Boston), I don't think even the local CHers would consider any of these restaurants as the top in their city.
I mean no disrespect to any of these owners,, chefs, and employees - I've been to some of these restaurants and have enjoyed meals there. But they are not the best restaurant in the US.
Bern's Steak House, Tampa, FL
The Fearrington House Restaurant, Pittsboro, NC
Fore Street, Portland, ME
Foreign Cinema, San Francisco
Greens, San Francisco
Hamersley's Bistro, Boston
Highlands Bar and Grill, Birmingham, AL
Jaleo, Washington, D.C.
Mélisse, Santa Monica, CA
Pearl Oyster Bar, NYC
Pizzeria Bianco, Phoenix
Primo, Rockland, ME
The Slanted Door, San Francisco
Terra, St. Helena, CA
Vidalia, Washington, D.C.