Chef Daniel Patterson -- whose new restaurant Coi is about to open downtown -- wrote an op-ed in the New York Times, pointing out the influence of Alice Waters of Chez Panisse. Hers is an overpowering dogma to which most chefs in the city must abide, kneeling in front of the Goddess of the superior and sustainable ingredients prepared with minimal affectation as to let the natural flavors shine. Patterson lamented the dearth of chefs willing to take these great California ingredients and do something with them which reflect their own personality, not Alice Waters', no matter how great she is. Winterland is the exception to this dogma, maybe the only place in the city proper, (now that Campton Place's Daniel Humm has moved to New York) willing to take chances with highly inventive dishes. If Winterland is the benchmark, we need more places like this, we tell you.
Picture courtesy of Winterland restaurant