Chef Donald Link's restaurant Herbsaint has been named to the Fine Dining Hall of Fame, a list of top restaurants around the country compiled annually by Nation's Restaurant News, a restaurant industry publication.
Nation's Restaurant News says that more than 220 restaurants have been inducted into its Fine Dining Hall of Fame since the awards were established in 1980. Chef John Besh's Restaurant August was inducted in 2007.
The 2009 inductees were nominated by past winners and selected by the magazine's editors. Criteria included excellence in food quality, professional service and a memorable ambiance. Check out the rest of the list here.
Link originally opened Herbsaint in 2000 along with chef Susan Spicer, under whom he worked as sous chef at Bayona in the early 1990s. It served as the springboard for much more culinary entrepreneurialism from the Louisiana native. He opened Cochon along with co-chef Stephen Stryjewski and last year they opened the related Cochon Butcher, an upscale meat market and sandwich shop attached to the Warehouse District restaurant. Earlier this year, Link opened an events hall and private dining facility called Calcasieu on the second floor above Cochon. This spring he also published his first cookbook, titled "Real Cajun."
Still Herbsaint has remained Link's flagship, where his French-meets-Southern cuisine and passion for cured meats and other made-in-house touches consistently puts it at the top of the pack for fine-dining restaurants in New Orleans.
The magazine also named chef Alice Waters of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., as its 2009 Fine Dining Legend, an honor bestowed on Ella Brennan of Commander's Palace in the past.