The Next Culinary Hotspot? Newark Airport

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·Food Editor
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We hope chef Dale Talde’s Korean-fried chicken is on his Newark menu. Photo: Courtesy Talde

No one really associates airport food with fine dining. Pretty soon, though, you’ll be able to eat everything from French legend Alain Ducasse’s gougères to Top Cheftestant Dale Talde’s xiao long bao dumplings in one place, and that place will be Newark Liberty International Airport. By summer 2015, Newark’s United Airlines terminal will be home to the country’s largest collection of chef-driven restaurants, thanks to a partnership with “airport experience” group OTG

The airport is currently undergoing a $120 million renovation that will bring 55 new dining options and 6,000 mobile pay technology-equipped iPads to Newark, New Jersey’s Terminal C. And get this: Travelers can pay for food with MileagePlus award miles, and said food is supposedly guaranteed to arrive at the chair, table, or floor space from which the iPad-holding customer ordered it within 15 minutes.

The list of chefs involved in this endeavor reads like a who’s who of culinary coolness right now. Here’s what we’re most excited about:

* Dale Talde, two-time Top Chef competitor and owner of Talde in Brooklyn, New York, will have Caps Beer Garden, featuring a long list of international beers and an Asian-inflected menu of bar bites such as deviled eggs with kimchi and broccoli and cheddar soup rangoon. He’ll also serve dumplings—shumai, wontons, all kinds of dumplingsat Little Purse.

* Mario Carbone, co-owner of Carbone and Torrisi restaurants and one of Food & Wine magazine’s 2012 Best New Chefs in America, will open Casciano’s Italian Specialties. Yes, Casciano’s will be about Italian food, but the menu will focus on rotisserie meats such as porchetta and roast beef. Carbone will also be running Clam Bar, where the focus will be seafood, and Italian Steakhouse, where travelers can get a pre-flight T-bone or veal chop. 

* Tel Aviv-born Einat Admony, who owns Taïm and Balaboostaand who might just make the best falafel in New Yorkwill offer hummus, tabouleh, babaghanoush and shwarma at Flora Café. And, yes, there will be falafel. 

* Thyme will feature an all-vegetarian menu from Dirt Candy owner and New York City veggie queen Amanda Cohen. 

* Tacos wrapped up in hand-pressed tortillas will be on offer at Alex Stupak’s Taqa Taqueria. Stupak owns Empellon, Empellon Cocina, and the newly opened Al Pastor in New York City, and he likes to char things

Other highlights: Marc Forgione, who was the youngest American-born chef to receive a Michelin star at his eponymous restaurant in New York City, will serve upscale burgers at his 30-seat Classified in United’s Elite Membership Club. Pitmaster Elizabeth Karmel will serve barbecue at Notorious P.I.G. Pizzaiola Robert Caporuscio will serve wood-fired pies at Forno Magico. Chocolatier and pastry chef Jacques Torres will have a bakery called Melange. Other  big-name chefs include Amanda Freitag, Jose Garces, Ike Aikasa, Kevin Pemoulie, John Delucie, Alex Guarnaschelli, Alain Ducasse, Elizabeth Falkner, Josh Capon, Dan Kluger, Paul Leibrandt, Wilson Tang, Ben Daitz and Ratha Chaupoly. 

Phew! Where else can you taste dishes from this all-star list in one place? We wonder if there will be a non-ticket-holder entrance to the food hall…

More top chefs:
Elizabeth Karmel’s Truths of Grilling
Amanda Cohen Approves of Frozen Peas
Women in Food to Know Right Now

Would you go to the airport extra early just to eat the food?