Restaurants are not just places to eat anymore. They are places of refuge from the harsh reality of the world. They offer a fantasy with luxe materials you’d like to surround yourself with all the time but instead you pay a premium to do so for a couple of hours. You want your favorite restaurant to have a way better playlist and sound system than you have, a way more stocked bar, and good looking and polite people who will smile at you and preempt your wants and needs. And that’s just for starters. Ann Kim gets that, and this is what makes her such a successful restaurateur. At Young Joni, Kim’s third effort after Pizzeria Lola and Hello Pizza, all of the above fall into place. Kim works tirelessly to make sure the entire operation runs smoothly, deliciously, while maintaining an air of cool sophistication. Above all, Young Joni is imbued with Kim’s heart and soul: It’s a pizzeria, it’s Korean-ish, it’s an architectural stunner with a sneaky little bar in the back alley just for good measure. It’s a long wait to get a prime reservation. And it’s worth it.
Readers’ Choice: Hi-Lo Diner