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The Year In Eater 2006 (#3: Best/Worst Meal)

The Year in Eater rolls on, and we welcome a few more old friends to the dancefloor. Places, please.

[L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, Kalina, 8/06]


Danyelle Freeman, Restaurant Girl: With a bounty of food gems - the baby kusyu oysters poached in oysters are divinely addictive, langoustine fritters & precious foie gras ravioli afloat in a savory chicken broth - L'Atelier de Robuchon is by far the best meal I've had this year.

Jennifer Leuzzi, Snack: Good: L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Bad: You know I don’t name names.

Josh Ozersky, aka Mr. Cutlets: After eating 13 tiny courses with Adam Platt at Degustation, we both left only slightly less hungry than when we came in; dessert, in the form of bacon cheeseburgers at Veselka, provided an ideal coda.

Augie, Augieland: For most unique dining experience Masa, still nothing like it at any level. For best NY place Blue Hill.

Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch: The Pigs tails at Momofuku Noodle Bar. They told us it would be an hour wait, and we were seated after 25 minutes (right at the main bar). We also had a great shrimp, bacon and corn dish, and of course the Momofuku Ramen with Berkshire pork. Washed it all down with some unfiltered Nigori Sake... the perfect meal.

William Tigertt, proprietor, Freemans: Lure Burger!

Nosher & HungryMan, NYCNosh: We've got two meals of the year, one high-church, one low-church: the first is our recent autumn dinner at Cru, if only for the rock shrimp salad and the saffron cioppino pasta; the second happened after a spur-of-the-moment decision to detour our taxi from JFK to swing by the East Village so that we could make a visit to Otafuku after being okonomiyaki-less in Egypt for a week. Bonito and shredded yam have never tasted so good.

Joshua David Stein, Gridskipper & Joanna Goddard, Bene Magazine: Cafe Cortina chef Jeffrey Hoffman's meal at the James Beard House.

Andrea Strong, The StrongBuzz: the little owl. one cannot, and quite frankly should not, underestimate the joy of gravy meatball sliders. and in general, the place is just perfect.

Leslie Price, Time Out New York: Lonesome Dove for sheer ridiculousness.

Adam Kuban, SliceNY: A totally self-promoting tie: The Gothamist-Slice Pizza Spectacular at Fornino in March. All-you-could-eat pizza (including white-truffle pizzas); mozzarella made fresh, on the spot, for the crowd; and a great mix of attendees. And the Gothamist-AHT Burger Party at Water Taxi Beach, with a sampling menu of five different regional American hamburger styles -- an amazing night to be a burger lover.

Ed Levine, Serious Eats: The Soccer Fields at Red Hook.

Ryan Sutton, Bloomberg: i don't know whether they were the best meals, but these were my personal most memorable (and probably favorite meals) of 2006: 1) Omakase Bar at Morimoto. Imagine feasting on the following for close to three hours: dried mullet roe with apple shards, kobe-style beef sashimi, fugu three ways, neon orange uni and sweet shrimp sushi, freshwater clams with monkfish belly, fresh tofu with black truffles, a block of kobe-style braised short rib, a bowl of uni rice, poached rhubarb and finally, a persimmon dipped in liquid nitrogen. Where else can you get a persmission dippled in liquid nitrogen? I'm not reading from a menu; when you eat food that rare and that tasty, you remember every detail. That was in late February 2006. To be fair, I paid about $313 with tip and drink, so perhaps that helps jolt the memory. 2) Omakase at Lure Fishabar. I sat at the sushi bar at Lure, equipped with a confident Japanese-speaker at my side. We ordered the omakase. When chef Tanaka Shigenori (formerly of Masa) asked my date what we were in the mood for, she promptly replied: everything. What followed was a blitzkrieg of sashimi and sushi bliss. First came sashimi: sockeye, fatty king salmon, different grades of toro, bite-size baby squid, man-eater sized octopus and a mound of jellyfish looking strands--they were eel larvae. Chef Tanaka called them "eel spaghetti.’’ Then came edo-style sushi (warm rice, pre-sauced) till we burst. All this for $70 bucks each. Sadly, Chef Tanaka has left Lure.

LS: Blue Hill at Stone Barns on the first day of spring. Arrived early and met the farm animals, then retired inside and ate them. Good times. Honorable mention: the first night of Waverly Innsanity.

BL: Meal of the Year -- A somewhat impromptu meal at Upstairs at Bouley was tops for me in 2007. Course after course of impeccably layered flavors. The sake to red to white to proseco limits my memory of the specifics, but to borrow an '06 catch-phrase, it was legendary. Of course, that you can also just drop the restaurant by for a burger or a bit of sushi makes it one of a very rare breed. Honorable Mention: Chris Lee's reinvented Gilt; Blue Hill at Stone Barns.