As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. We've already covered the 2015 restaurant standbys, newcomers and more. Now it's time for the biggest dining surprise of 2015.
Q: What was the biggest dining surprise of 2015?
Rene Louapre, cofounder of Hogs For The Cause
Still can't believe it's not butter.
Kim Ranjbar, writer, Suck The Heads
The redefinition of pita bread at Shaya.
Scott Gold, author of The Shameless Carnivore, writer/contributor for Thrillist, NolaVie, and Louisiana Eats!
Brennan's. It was good to see the old pink lady return, especially after such an unpleasant hiatus, but Slade Rushing is doing what I didn't think would be possible, which is breathing fresh, modern life into an old Gande Dame of Creole cuisine, while still managing to adhere to tradition. It's a tightrope walk for a chef, and there's no small amount of pressure there with such a beloved NOLA restaurant, but he pulls it off.
B.E. Mintz, founder and editor of Nola Defender and Faux Real Fest
Kin! In a year of hype and hoopla surrounding new openings, they opened quietly not he strength of truly unique cuisine. The restaurant is not in a "hot" location and they don't even have a liquor license to date. Yet, none of that matters once the first plate arrives. The food is simply "that good."
Josh Brasted, photographer
Kin. An amazing restaurant with a gigantic Burger King billboard on the roof.
Nora McGunnigle, beer writer and contributor for Eater NOLA and Gambit
That Kristin Essig and Mike Stoltzfus have time to operate one of the best pop-ups in the city (Little Bird).
Gwendolyn Knapp, editor, Eater NOLA
The sheer amount of restaurants that opened and expanded this year. The bizarre sewage story surrounding Ursa Major's shutter. The way the Houston's shutter brought everybody together with tearful memories of Hawaiian rib-eyes and French dips.