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2006 Zagat NYC: Winners and Losers

The 2006 Zagat NYC went on sale yesterday. (Overview press is here and here.) For newer restaurants and those on the bubble, the release can mark either the earliest signs of an institution forming or the beginning of the end. Because, truth be told, whether you use the book to pick venues or as a resto 411, you'll have The '06 before the first of the year.

So, then, which restaurants are celebrating and which need to be nicer to Tim and Nina if and when next year rolls around?

First, the winners.

STANTON SOCIAL 26 (food), 29 (decor), 21 (service):
The Lower East Side continues to gentrify with this "trendy" new Eclectic where a smartly "earth" dining room is topped by an amber-lit lounge; the "original" globe-trotting menu arrives small plate-style to encourage sharing, and though pricing is reasonable, it does add up.
DEVI 25 F, 23 D, 22 S
"even the okra dazzles" at this Flatiron "haute Indian", where chefs Suvir Saran and Hemant Mathur create "extraordinary" cuisine; it may be "expensive", but no one minds much given teh "gorgeous" bi-level space and "gracious" service; P.S. insiders say the "tasting menu's the way to go."
TEMPO 25 F, 23 D, 23 S
"Manhattan-style dining comes to Park Slope" via this "terrific" new Mediterranean offering "robust flavors" in "big, airy" "SoHo-like" digs; though "service is Brooklyn friendly", locals better "be prepared to spend" like they were in the city.
Indeed, when they want to, TeamZagat has a way with numbers and words. Or, at least, numbers and quotation marks. Either way, it isn't hard to see why a 26-29-21 will go a long way. But in contrast to the flowery, adoring prose they use on the raves, when they want to shutter a venue they go right for the jugular. Observe the losers:
MEET 17 F, 18 D, 15 S
"Take a date" to this semi-"swanky" Meatpacking District Med that's the kind of place where the crowd's young and the "food's fine but the party's better"; "expensive drinks" blot out the "spaced-out service."
Note strategic use of the words, "semi" "young" and "blot". Cruel, but nothing as compared to this:
CHEMIST CLUB GRILL - F, - D, - S (unrated)
The Grand Central area gets another steakhouse via this Dylan Hotel newcomer set in a former science hall and retaining much of its period detail; the all-day menu features Americana for breakfast and lunch, and pricey dinnertime surf 'n' turf.
One thing we know for sure is that when we open our restaurant we'd like not to have the phrases "another steakhouse", "former science hall", or "pricey dinnertime surf 'n' turf" be anywhere near our Zagat listing.

To review, Stanton Social, Devi, and Tempo are now even harder to get in to and you can look for at least one to appear on the Most Popular list in '07; Meet and, though perhaps unfairly so, Chemist Club are now officially on life support. The rest of the book, including where Tim and Nina stand on the Shake Shack v. Burger Joint cage fight, you will need to see for yourself.
· NYC Restaurants 2006 [Zagat Shop]

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