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NYC’s James Beard semi-finalists include a Harlem fried chicken spot and other cheap eats

Alyson Penn

The James Beard semi-finalist list is out, and while most of the NYC picks are fairly predictable (Cote made a showing for best new restaurant, Justin Simillie from Upland and Iganicio Mattos from Estela are nominated as best chefs), there are also some surprising contenders. Fried chicken in Harlem? Dumplings in Queens? Yes and yes, please. Neither Charles Gabriel from Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken or Helen You from Dumpling Galaxy has made the list before. 

Some other noticeable additions? Empellón in Midtown got two nods, one for best chef (Alex Stupak) and one for best new restaurant, power couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi were each named semi-finalists for their respective restaurants, Buvette and I Sodi, but not their combined one, Via Carota, and only two venue picks are in Brooklyn, Clover Club and Frankie's 457 Sputino (both in Carroll Gardens). 

The list will be narrowed down on March 14, with the winners announced in May 7. The full list from some of the biggest categories are below:

Best chefs
Greg Baxtrom, Olmsted
Emma Bengtsson, Aquavit
Rawia Bishara, Tanoreen
Amanda Cohen, Dirt Candy
Charles Gabriel, Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken
Sean Gray, Momofuku Ko
Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, Shuko
Ignacio Mattos, Estela
Carlo Mirarchi, Blanca
Joe Ng, RedFarm
Erik Ramirez, Llama Inn
Missy Robbins, Lilia
Justin Smillie, Upland
Rita Sodi, I Sodi
Jeremiah Stone and Fabián von Hauske, Contra
Alex Stupak, Empellón Midtown
Alex Raij and Eder Montero, Txikito
Ann Redding and Matt Danzer, Uncle Boons
Jody Williams, Buvette Gastrothèque
Helen You, Dumpling Galaxy

Outstanding chef
Andrew Carmellini, Locanda Verde
Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune

Rising star chef of the year
Clare de Boer, King

Outstanding restaurant
Frankies 457 Spuntino  
Momofuku Noodle Bar

Best new restaurant
Empellón Midtown

Outstanding bar program
Bar Goto 
Clover Club

Outstanding service
The Red Cat

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