Masu Sushi & Robata, Minneapolis
Matthias Merges, the former chef at Charlie Trotter’s, owns this Japanese restaurant specializing in small plates, like beef tongue and veal sweetbreads cooked over long-burning, low-smoke pressed charcoal. 2853 N. Kedzie Ave.; yusho-chicago.com.
Eli’s BBQ, Cincinnati
After selling his signature pulled-pork sandwich at local markets, Elias Leisring opened this bare-bones spot. His signature move: using a pizza cutter to chop the pulled pork extra-fine. 3313 Riverside Dr.; elisbarbeque.com.
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