Best Restaurant Reinvention - 2012
It's not quite a new restaurant — the owners and the gorgeous marble bar in the back are the same — but under chef Nick Balla, Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson's restaurant is nothing like it was a year ago. To describe Balla's food as Hungarian with Californian and Japanese influences is to underestimate how intricately the flavors are woven together, and how far the chef's imagination roves. Balla isn't just making his own blood sausage, he's grinding his own paprika and curing dozens of types of pickles. Once Robertson's bakery and sandwich counter opens, centered around Eastern European breads made with heirloom grains, there's no telling what else Bar Tartine will become.