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Industry Tastemakers on Their 2011 Restaurant Breakups

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As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, bloggers, and readers. We've already covered Best Standbys, Top Newcomers, Best Restohoods, 2011 in One Word, Biggest Dining Surprises, and Single Best Meal of the year. Now, Breakups. Readers, please add your thoughts to the comments.

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[Krieger]

Q: Were there any restaurants that you broke up with in 2011?

Chris Stang, Andrew Steinthal, Immaculate Infatuation: Cascabel Taqueria, most food trucks.

Josh Stein, senior editor, Departures: I say it every year but this year I really mean it: Dumont and Rye.

Josh Ozersky, columnist, TIME: It's hard for me to admit this but I stopped going to Di Fara because of the crowds. I can put up with any amount of mouse dung but an hour of waiting is more than I can take. There's another restaurant that I loved very much that I stopped going to because the cream sauces weren't reduced enough but I feel guilty and also hungry and so plan to go back.

Ryan Sutton, restaurant critic, Bloomberg: I feel like I had a bit of a breakup not with a restaurant but with a chef this year: Marcus Samuelsson. My first visit to Aquavit, as a 24-year-old grad student in December of 2003, was one of the great meals of my life. Samuelsson was young and he was doing stuff that no one else was doing. He served me these Kumamoto oysters with curry mango sorbet, then a perfectly hot rare filet of smoked salmon in tea broth. Fast forward to 2011 and Samuelsson is at Red Rooster. I went there five times for my review, and never have my (diverse) dining companions and I been so unanimous in disliking a venue. The food was boring and careless: desiccated dirty rice, heat lamp-style fried chicken. Honestly I’m rooting for this guy because when he’s on point he really is one of the world’s great chefs, so I hope he's gotten back on track.

Danyelle Freeman, Restaurant Girl: Sushi Yasuda. It’s really not the same since Yasuda moved back to Tokyo. The fish is still first-rate, but the delicate nuances and creative spirit are gone.

Robert Sietsema, restaurant critic, Village Voice: Roberta's, M. Wells (unavoidably), Five Guys, Ippudo, Fedora.

Kim Davis, The Pink Pig: Not really, but plenty of places I went to once and was wholly disappointed. The Dutch, for one.

Greg Morabito, features editor, Eater NY: No big break-ups this year, but I vowed to not go back to The Commodore for a while, at least until that place cools down.

Bret Thorn, Nation's Restaurant News: I think I’m done with Chipotle. I don’t know whether it’s the packaging or the quality — it’s certainly not the quantity — but a Chipotle burrito doesn’t satisfy me as a meal.

Marc Shepherd, NY Journal: No, but I went to Bar Boulud a bit less, because I now like Lincoln better.

Gabe Ulla, features editor, Eater National: Brooklyn Fare, sadly.

Kate Krader, restaurant editor, Food & Wine: Good year for me, no break ups. Everyone was on good behavior.

Josh Beckerman, foodie magician: The Standard Grill - when you have an empty restaurant on a Thursday afternoon, you should accommodate a celebrity foodie magician and a big time food publicist when they ask to sit in a corner booth. The host and manager did not. Will never go back.

Jordana Rothman, dining editor, TONY: I had a one-night stand with Smorgasburg. Love the spirit of the place; loathe the lines as a matter of principle. I’d also be content to never again darken the door at Edi & the Wolf. The service, the welcome—just hateful.

Lockhart Steele: Schillers, alas—the place where my Foursquare stats tell me I've dined nearly a hundred times fell out of rotation in March when I moved off the Lower East Side. When I snuck back for brunch a few weekends ago, though, I was recognized as a regular and welcomed with a gratis bloody mary. There's a reason why lack of staff turnover at the top restaurants matters, and that it is: the free bloody mary.

Scott Solish, nightlife editor, Eater NY: Spotted Pig after being served an $18 pile of lettuce with some shaved ricotta salata.

Amanda Kludt, editor, Eater NY: This was the year I finally decided that life is too short for me to waste my time on the rude hostesses at Lupa.

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