FOOD



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Looking for a little repose from the still-struggling economy? Then eat up, because there’s nothing like some good ole familiar comfort food to nostalgically recall the simpler (and more secure) times of childhood -- and even the trendiest restaurants are catching on to this.

Absinthe Brasserie & Bar

San Francisco
True to her New York roots, executive chef (and former Top Chef contestant) Jamie Lauren’s house-made hot dog is an instant classic: a mix of American Kobe beef, pork shoulder, and bacon served on a brioche hot dog bun topped with Guinness mustard, chili ketchup, and sauerkraut . $12, www.absinthe.com

Artisanal Fromagerie Bistro & Wine Bar

New York City
Still bustling after nearly a decade, this Midtown Manhattan Parisian-style bistro partially owes its success to its primary offering: cheese. Opt for a pot of bubbling Gouda and stout fondue with bread for dipping -- the Petite is more than enough for two. $24, www.artisanalbistro.com

Founding Farmers

Washington, D.C.
Keeping in mind collective interests, Pennsylvania Avenue’s farmhouse-inspired space sports reclaimed woods, communal tables, and a locally sourced menu of familial plates, including Southern panfried chicken served with waffles and a helping of macaroni and cheese. $16, www.wearefoundingfarmers.com

Hash Restaurant

Los Angeles (Venice Beach)
Former Gordon Ramsey chef Micah Fields’s “twisted comfort food” menu meshes perfectly with this artsy eatery’s beachfront surrounds. Craving a stress-free brunch? Relax at an outside table with an order of Cap’n Crunch–stuffed brioche French toast ($9.50), paired with a make-your-own Bloody Mary ($11). www.jdvhotels.com/hotels/losangeles/erwin

Jones

Philadelphia
This Stephen Starr creation boasts cushy booths, swivel seats, and retro-inspired decor, but it’s executive chef Steven Petrecca’s from-scratch menu that really hits home: chicken pot pie, deviled eggs, and meatloaf complete with whipped potatoes and buttered peas. $15, www.jones-restaurant.com

Kent Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen
Dallas
Southern comfort is the specialty at Iron Chef America winner Kent Rathbun’s casual gathering place, where choices like polenta-crusted fried green tomatoes ($11) and Dr. Pepper–mopped rotisserie chicken ($16) add an innovative touch to Texas cuisine. The hands-on, knowledgeable staff also gives new meaning to Southern hospitality. www.kentrathbun.com

Urban Farmer
Portland, Oregon
Situated off the eighth-floor lobby of downtown’s luxury Nines Hotel, Portland’s modern steak house brings new height to traditional dishes. For primo afternoon satisfaction, Chef Matt Christianson suggests the Wagyu barbecue brisket: six ounces of Texas beef slow-cooked in an heirloom-tomato and Moroccan-spiced rub, accompanied by house-made corn bread . $16, www.urbanfarmerrestaurant.com