To close out 2006, Eater once again invited many of our favorite digital food correspondents to join us in assessing the year's best eats, biggest surprises, and favorite neighborhoods for dining out. Here's question two; four more to follow by day's end.
[Good Fork, Kalina, 4/06]
2) TOP 3 RESTAURANT STANDBYS OF THE YEAR?
William Tigertt, proprietor, Freemans: Omen, Grimaldi's, Shake Shack.
Andrea Strong, The StrongBuzz: The Orchard, Porchetta, The Good Fork. (Runner up: BBQ at the Smoke Joint.)
Josh Ozersky, aka Mr. Cutlets: Veselka, still the home of New York's greatest bacon cheeseburger; DB Brasserie Moderne, the most French of Daniel Boulud's restaurants, and always rock solid; and Dona, the most consistently underrated tablecloth restaurant in town.
Danyelle Freeman, Restaurant Girl: My go-to's are Lupa, Kuma Inn and The Harrison.
Augie, Augieland: You mean where I go most often because they are dependable? Little Owl, Hearth, Cru.
Ed Levine, Serious Eats: Ouest, Teodora, Esca.
Nosher & HungryMan, NYCNosh: Gennaro, Mary's Fish Camp--we think that in 2006, it has finally started to outpace its mother restaurant on a consistent basis, and Via Emilia (although considering its newly re-opened status, it could also count as a newcomer).
Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch: My favorite restaurant in NYC is Fatty Crab... but I think that says more about me than the restaurant (I know it has its haters). Also, when you say standby, for some reason I think Grammercy Tavern. It might not have been my favorite meal of the year, but standby is a great word for that place. For Midtown Lunch, it's got to be Cafe Zaiya, the Japanese bakery/bento box/beard papa place on 41st btw. Madison & 5th.
Jennifer Leuzzi, Snack: Rai Rai Ken, August, Le Bernardin.
Deborah Schoeneman, New York: Balthazar, Le Bernardin, Honmura An.
Leslie Price, Time Out New York: Tia Pol, Blue Ribbon, The Grocery.
Adam Kuban, SliceNY: Pizza: Di Fara, even though the crowds almost put us off the place completely this year. Grimaldi's, always good for impressing out-of-towners and lifting spirits. The nearest slice joint at lunch, which is, perhaps, a cop out in this context, but you know what they say about Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now. Burgers: Shake Shack at off hours, Molly's Pub at 2 p.m., and White Castle, at all times.
BL: Two words: The. Balth. Also, Gusto; and Lure Fishbar, a venue that has made more of the Great Prada Fire than could have been imagined. Tigertt's flagging the burger was spot on, but the rest of the menu is incredibly consistent, too. And somehow the dining room always feels full, yet you can walk-in at most hours and get a table. Honorable mention: Pravda.
LS: Schiller's, Lure, and lunchtime takeout from La Esquina.