John Mariani, the Virtual Gourmet himself, has released his Best New Restaurants of 2007 list in November’s Esquire.

Topping the list of Chefs to Watch is our own Tarver King at Woodlands Resort & Inn. Mariani praises King’s way with pork belly:

Only a skilled chef should be allowed to alter pork belly, which really doesn’t need altering. King succeeds: He brines it for three days, braises it for another three, then spins it into a crispy pork-belly confit served with cumin-scented turtle beans and sweet-and-sour stewed radicchio with a dab of sour cream.

King had some pretty big clogs to fill, taking the helm from Scott Crawford who himself had replaced Ken Vedrinski, the proprietor of Sienna on Daniel Island, a restaurant that Mariani singled out as one of the best new restaurants of 2004.