Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Eater's 38 Essential Restaurants

The 38 Essential New York Restaurants, April '11

It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, “Can you recommend a restaurant…” This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.
This time around, after much reflecting and poring over reader emails and comments, we're switching out short lived addition Franny's, Little Owl (see Joseph Leonard), and Maz Mezcal. In their places go the very excellent Mile End (It's hard to say goodbye to Franny's, but Mile End is really where you want to be going to dinner in South Brooklyn right now), Jean-Georges' much lauded ABC Kitchen, and uptown Mexican spot Cascabel Taqueria.
For those of you readying the pitchforks because your favorite restaurant isn't on the list—or because you lerve the pizza at Franny's—wouldn't it just be more productive to leave your thoughts in the comments? State your cases for (or against) restaurants in the comments or in the tipline.
Additions and Subtractions:
· November, 2009: 15 East dropped, Casa Mono added
· January, 2010: Little GiantNougatine, and Co. dropped; PruneMarea, and Aldeaadded
· March, 2010: Barbuto and Sapori D'Ischia dropped; Joseph Leonard andMinangasli added
· July, 2010: IppudoPrune, and Vinegar Hill House dropped; Yakitori TottoL&B Spumoni Gardens, and Bar Boulud added
· October, 2010: Frankies 457Peasant, and Marea dropped; Prime MeatsTorrisi Italian Specialties, and Salumeria Rosi added
· January 2011: L&B Spumoni Gardens, Diner, and Convivio dropped; Franny's,Rye, and Balaboosta added.
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1

Locanda Verde

377 GREENWICH STNEW YORK, NY 10013(212) 925-3797
Though owners include one Robert DeNiro, chef Andrew Carmellini's return to the stage, following A Voce, is a rustic neighborhood Italian restaurant at the core. [link]
2

Blaue Gans

139 DUANE STNEW YORK, NY 10013(212)-571-8880
Something of an oddity, at least at first blush, Blau Gans turns out rustic Bavarian food in its stripped-down digs. Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner's casual sequel to his beloved
3

Oriental Garden Restaurant

14 ELIZABETH STNEW YORK, NY 10013(212) 619-0085
If any of Chinatown's best dim sum joints are undiscovered, this one is—although the long weekend waits suggest otherwise. Chinatown pros and pro chefs alike
4

Torrisi Italian Specialties

250 MULBERRY STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 965-0955
Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone's sandwich shop by day, 20-seat restaurant by night, is one of the more unique dining experiences in New York right now. Soulful Italian
5

Balaboosta

214 MULBERRY ST # 1NEW YORK, NY 10012-4130 (212) 966-7366
Delicious, fresh, Mediterranean fare in a homey setting at an affordable price. What more could you want in a 38 pick? [link]
6

Balthazar

80 SPRING STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 965-1414
Restaurateur Keith McNally's enduring Soho brasserie. The best everyday restaurant in New York City. Period. [link]
7

Raoul's Restaurant

180 PRINCE STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 966-3518
Loud, clubby and crowded—and home of one of the most authentic steak frites downtown. A straight classic. [link]
8

Blue Ribbon Brasserie

97 SULLIVAN STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 274-0404
After 11pm, it's the best restaurant in the city (and it's open until 4am). But at any hour epic raw bar platters and perfect fondue and the mere 50-odd seats are among
9

Lupa

170 THOMPSON STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 982-5089
Mario Batali's osteria on Thompson Street maybe be his best effort in New York; it's certainly his most relaxed and consistent. Its cacio e pepe is world class. [link]
10

Momofuku Ssam Bar

207 2ND AVENEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 254-3500
Dude, it's Momofuku Ssam. [link]
11

Minetta Tavern

113 MACDOUGAL STNEW YORK, NY 10012(212) 475-3850
Since 1937 and impeccably restored by the one and only Keith McNally, the reborn Minetta is a masterpiece -- an old New York saloon, modern steakhouse and newfangled
12

Spotted Pig

314 W 11TH STNEW YORK, NY 10014(212) 620-0393
One might expect owners and regulars like Jay-Z and Bill Clinton to distract from the food, but chef April Bloomfield holds her own and then some at New York's top (wait
13

Joseph Leonard

170 WAVERLY PLNEW YORK, NY 10014
Just a year old yet it's already essential in the neighborhood. Gabe Stulman's tiny neighborhood spot puts out a great vibe and even better food. An instant favorite in
14

Strip House New York

13 E 12TH STNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 328-0000
Its steaks are excellent, especially the double-cut bone-in rib eye, but Strip House's real achievement is finally putting steak in a sexy setting, which it does in
15

Casa Mono

125 E 17TH STNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 253-2773
The lone Spanish baby of Molto Mario’s empire, Casa Mono has been an Irving Place destination since it opened in ’04. Chef Andy Nusser has crafted a menu of
16

Socarrat Paella Bar

259 W 19TH STNEW YORK, NY 10011(212) 462-1000
This Chelsea hole-in-the-wall -- yes, expect to wait to share space at the giant communal table that stretches the length of the room -- serves near note-perfect paella.
17

Aldea

31 W 17TH STNEW YORK, NY 10011
George Mendes innovative take on Portuguese is both impressive and addordable, and has received raves far and wide. Bonus points for making an actual enjoyable ambiance,
18

Gramercy Tavern

42 E 20TH STNEW YORK, NY 10003(212) 477-0777
The unofficial official First Restaurant of New York, where Michelle Obama recently dined and service king Danny Meyer presides. Though its formal dining room in back is
19

ABC Kitchen

35 E 18TH STNEW YORK, NY 10003
Not only is ABC Kitchen, located in the ABC Carpet & Home store gorgeous, light, and airy, it also serves incredibly fresh and delicious -- and oftentimes healthy--
20

Esca Restaurant

402 W 43RD STNEW YORK, NY 10036(212) 564-7272
Non-theatre-goers sometimes forget about Esca due to its Siberia-adjacent location, but in many ways Esca is as good as the four-starred Le Bernardin. If nothing else,
21

Sushi Yasuda

204 E 43RD STNEW YORK, NY 10017(212) 972-1001
Yasuda regulars know their sushi chefs by name and send them Christmas cards. If you're not getting world-class omakase here, you're not at Yasuda. [link]
22

Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto

283 AMSTERDAM AVENEW YORK, NY 10023(212) 877-4800
Cesare Casella’s small plates parlor is great place for a few bites of premium imported antipasti and a glass of wine, or a larger meal of more substantial meat and
23

Yakitori Totto

251 W 55TH STNEW YORK, NY 10019
Rare poultry and grilled meat on stick never had it so good. An instant classic in Midtown, affordable, cool, and dependable. [link]
24

Chin Chin

216 E 49TH STNEW YORK, NY 10017(212) 888-4555
On the family tree of New York high-end Chinese restaurants, Chin Chin, since 1983, is younger than Mr. Chow and Shun Lee, but its anchor status on 49th Street in Midtown
25

Le Bilboquet

25 E 63RD STNEW YORK, NY 10065(212) 751-3036
Hating on this comically and unselfconsciouslynouveau riche French 25-seater is totally besides the point and will distract you from how much fun it is to get in on
26

JG Melon Restaurant

1291 3RD AVENEW YORK, NY 10021(212) 650-1310
Upper East Side pubs don't come more old school, and some have the Melon's burger as the best in the city. It's not, but along with Melon's crispy waffle-cut fries and
27

Cascabel Taqueria

1538 2ND AVENEW YORK, NY 10028
Excellent Mexican food, good prices, cool setting. Negates the need for longtime staple Maz Mezcal. [link]
28

Bar Boulud

BROADWAYNEW YORK, NY 10023
It's the quintessential Lincoln Center scene with solid food, an exciting wine program (choice bottles are served at cost weekly), and a killer terrine. It offers more
29

Gennaro Restaurant

665 AMSTERDAM AVENEW YORK, NY 10025(212) 665-5348
An Upper West Sider's secret, Gennaro is no reservations, no credit and no frills. But its straightforward pastas and main proteins never disappoint in a neighborhood
30

Dinosaur Barbecue

700 W 125TH STNEW YORK, NY 10027
Along with Daisy May's, Dinosaur tops the category of Best BBQ in New York. Tucked under the West Side Highway, waits are epic, as are the ribs. Tip: outside tables are
31

Roberta's

261 MOORE STBROOKLYN, NY 11206(718) 417-1118
One of the Brooklyn new school of locavore-crazy, market-driven ingredients, Roberta's is in many ways what happens when hipster chefs get it right. See especially the
32

Fette Sau

354 METROPOLITAN AVEBROOKLYN, NY 11211(718) 963-3404
Once a trendsetter, now a member of the Williamsburg establishment, Fette Sau serves up a rotating menu of pork and beef ribs that leads some to tag it as the best BBQ in Brooklyn, if not New York. [link]
33

Rye

247 S 1ST STBROOKLYN, NY 11211
Great cocktails, excellent, hearty food in a romantic, pared down setting. It's a major win for the area. Make sure to try the meatloaf sandwich, the duck, the Old
34

Prime Meats

465 COURT STBROOKLYN, NY 11231(718) 254-0327
Easily the most exciting steakhouse to open in the last few years, the Franks’ newest baby feature a mixed menu of new Brooklyn cuisine and old German classics, in
35

Al Di La

248 5TH AVEBROOKLYN, NY 11215(718) 636-8888‎
No resy, total mob scene, noisy, and absolutely delicious describe the decade-plus-old Brooklyn Italian that predates the Park Slope stroller mafia but caters to it
36

Mile End Delicatessen

97 HOYT STBROOKLYN, NY 11217
They serve excellent smoked meat sandwiches by day, and innovative takes on Jewish classics at night. The Montreal-themed deli is an ultimate neighborhood spot that also
37

Sripraphai Thai Restaurant

64-13 39TH AVE, WOODSIDE, NY 11377, USA(718) 899-9599
In Woodside, Queens, this highly remote beer-and-wine only joint is as far out as the Eater 38 ventures. But it's worth the trip, given that this Thai food is considered
38

Minangasli

86-10 WHITNEY AVEFLUSHING, NY 11373
Known as one of the only New York Indonesian restaurant worth traveling to, Minangasli in East Elmhurst serves up dependably excellent and authentic Asian. Worth the

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