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Last year, Ulla was a promising contender. This year, it was the judges’ shoo-in for Gold. Chef/co-owner Brad Holmes, they enthused, “has an eye for composition and a genius for simplicity.” They tumbled into amore with his insanely addictive semolina fritters, truffle mayo’d; squab breast and confit of leg (a dish of earthly beauty); and lamb three ways. Attentive, gracious service and a small but interesting wine list rounded out the appeal. The sophisticated farmhouse cooking at Zambri’s (Silver)—palotte abruzzese (fried bread dumplings), pitch-perfect spaghetti vongole—remains both bold and gutsy, and crack sommelier Frances Sidhe’s increased Italian wine list is a surefire hit. Classic Brasserie L’École (think all the mainstays: moules Frites, steak with Roquefort butter, sole meunière) met its own high standards for Bronze; with the bonus of creative wine and beer lists from co-owner Marc Morrison.
RETURN TO ALL RESTAURANT AWARDS 2012 RESULTS