Pizzeria Vetri and Avance make GQ's 'best' list

Chef Justin Bogle stands in the dining room of Avance on Thursday, December 12, 2013. Avance a new restaurant in the location of the old Le Bec-Fin at 1523 Walnut St. in Philadelphia. ( ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER )

Everyone's a critic and everyone seems to have a "best-of" list.

The James Beard Foundation yesterday sprung its list of semifinalists for the annual James Beard Awards. On it were 30 restaurants from around the country - in effect, its picks for the best new restaurants in America. The BYOB Laurel, from Top Chef winner Nicholas Elmi, and Serpico, the chef Peter Serpico's collab with Stephen Starr, made that list. The winner will be announced May 2.

Today online, GQ restaurant critic Alan Richman - last spotted in Philly with a rundown of 10 cheesesteak spots - weighs in with his picks for the best 25 new restaurants in America.

On it are Avance, at #18 - chef Justin Bogle's showcase in the former Le Bec-Fin, and Pizzeria Vetri - the parlor on Callowhill Street from Marc Vetri and crew, at #25.

Richman describes Vetri's pizzas as "pampered. ... There’s a wood-burning oven and marble counters. Customers, on the other hand, sit at long, wooden communal tables with metal seats, where they’re treated to swell views of the pampered cuisine." He also loves the rotolo, the appetizer that rolls pizza dough around mortadella and pistachio pesto.

Richman, who visited Avance just after its December opening, described the interior as "terribly serious and monotonal on the inside" but called it "a successor worthy of former chef Georges Perrier. ... The food at Avance was so impressive we wish we could have stayed longer and eaten far more."

He said he left "convinced that Avance was already one of the most impressive new restaurants of the year."

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