Idaho restaurant makes NY Times national top 50 list. Ready to drive 30 miles, Boise?

Food & Wine named Boise one of “America’s Next Great Food Cities” last year.

And a City of Trees chef became the state’s first James Beard Award winner this year.

So it isn’t entirely shocking to see an Idaho restaurant included on a respected New York Times list.

What’s unusual, though? Boise’s absence.

Published Monday, the Times’ third annual “The Restaurant List” includes Amano, which serves Mexican cuisine at 702 Main St. in Caldwell.

Yes, the Times’ culinary reach stretches into Canyon County.

That’s pretty impressive, actually.

The list is “the 50 places in the United States that we’re most excited about right now,” the Times says.

“For the third annual New York Times Restaurant List, we sent a dozen reporters, editors and critics to hundreds of places across the United States — from Rattlesnake Point in Florida to the Arts District in Los Angeles — to find our favorites.”

Amano is no secret to Idaho foodies. Chef and co-owner Salvador Alamilla was a James Beard Award finalist this year — one of two from Idaho. Ultimately, Kris Komori of Boise restaurant Kin wound up winning the Best Chef: Mountain Region award — the first time an Idaho chef accomplished the feat.

But Amano, which Alamilla opened with his wife, Becca, in 2019, keeps picking up steam. Plenty of Boiseans have made the drive for the scratch-made Mexican food.

“Alamilla,” the Times writes, “… was born in the Mexican state Michoacan and raised in Orange County, Calif. He brings the spirit of both of those places to the menu. The corn is nixtamalized and made into tortillas in house (by Mr. Alamilla’s aunts), and dishes like the tartare tostada and chile Colorado are well complemented by a cocktail of mezcal, ancho verde and coconut.

“In a nod to Southern California, the L.A. Birria Tacos have a particularly rich consommé. The short rib with mole negro is a dark, rich, monumental piece of meat, and afterward, it may be difficult to face the dulce de leche adorned with burnt-corn husk cream, but it’s the right decision.”

Speaking of decisions?

Making reservations at Amano suddenly feels rather prudent.