To close out 2007, Eater once again invited many of our favorite food correspondents to join us in assessing the year's best eats, biggest surprises, and favorite neighborhoods for dining out. We've celebrated Meals of the Year, Restaurant Standbys of the Year, Biggest Dining Surprises of 2007, 2007 in ONE WORD, Restaurant Neighborhoods of the Year, Headline Predictions for 2008, and finally, Top Restaurant Newcomers of 2007.
Soto, a popular pick for Newcomer of the Year; shot by the Kalina, 5/9/07.
Danyelle Freeman, NY Daily News Food Critic, aka The RG: Kefi, Fiamma and Soto are my favorite newcomers for 2007. I still don't think Soto has gotten its due: Chef Kosugi is extremely talented.
Dave Chang, Man of the Year: Hill Country, Tailor, El Quinto Pinto
Mimi Sheraton: Market Table, Alto (with new chef), Porter House
William Tigertt, Freemans Restaurant: Soto, Allen & Delancy, and Resto
Anon, Sr. Editor, Food & Wine: Anthos, Momofuku Noodle Bar - cuz it's totally diff, more pleasurable experience, and Fiamma - if new chef situation counts as newcomer
Jennifer Leuzzi, Snack: Dell'Anima, Solex, Tailor
Joanne Wilson, aka Gotham Gal: Market Table, Pamploma, Momofukosaam
Adam Kuban, Serious Eats: 1. Isabella's Oven: For a brief, shining moment it was making some of the best pizza in the city. But then the joint's virtuoso pizzaiolo moved back to Italy temporarily. Word is that he's coming back in early 2008, which may bring the place's pies back to their masterful levels. 2. Peppe's Pizza & Panini, 3. Di Fara: Does reopening again and again after multiple DOH shutdowns count as being a "newcomer"? It's a newcomer each time, right?
Zach Brooks, Midtown Lunch: 1. If you judged by number of times visited, for me it would have to be Caselulla—the (more than just your average) wine and cheese bar in Hell's Kitchen. The pig ass sandwich. The perfect cheese and condiment pairings. So great. 2. Does Lucy of Gramercy count as a new restaurant? I haven't read much about this place since it was taken over by Chef Carmen Gonzalez, but I had an amazing meal there from beginning to end, and the "pork martini" (my name, not theirs), was one of my favorite NYC dishes of the year. 3. If you're talking about Midtown, it's got to be Five Guys Burgers & Fries. No bigger grand opening. No better burger and fries in Midtown (for under $10 of course).
Ben Lerer, Thrillist: Mercat, Perilla, Aurora Soho
LS: 3. 3. Ssam Bar (rated third, so humor me here on timing of the opening). 2. Soto (though I haven't been by nearly enough) 1. Norwood (I kid. Er, wait, do I?)
BL: Since Chang got his due last year, Tailor, Morandi, Smith & Mills. Honorable Mention: Norwood, Soto