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Friends of Eater Name Their Top Restaurant Standbys of 2014

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All the restaurants that never get old.

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Daniel Krieger

As is the tradition at Eater, our closeout of the year is a survey of friends, industry types, and bloggers. This year, we asked the group eight questions running the gamut from meal of the year to top restaurant newcomers. Their answers will appear throughout the week. Responses are related in no particular order; all are cut, pasted, and (mostly) unedited herein. Please, add your answers in the comments.

Jordana Rothman, food writer and editor, cocktail expert:
I reside in Carroll Gardens like every other food writer in New York City, so I live for Prime Meats, Nightingale 9 and Mile End (where, it bears mentioning, Eli Sussman is growing into a superstar chef and we should all be paying attention). I'm writing a book with Alex Stupak so I spent a lot of time at his Empellon restaurants this year. I am always going to be a fan first when it comes to Stupak, he's just a brilliant thinker.

Mimi Sheraton, restaurant critic and author of 1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die:
Top 10: Bar Boulud, Boulud Sud, ABC Kitchen, Elephant & Castle, Sandro's, Wallse, Wu Liang Ye, Meme, La Mangeoire, Pearl's Oyster Bar.

Michael Kaminer, New York Daily News restaurant critic:
I’ve become a regular at the Dutch-Israeli chain Wok to Walk for fresh, cheap fast food. On a cold day, nothing beats quinoa porridge at Bluestone Lane Collective Café on Greenwich Ave. For sit-down meals, The East Pole’s become a favorite for virtuous veg-based plates and warm service.

A restaurant dining room with a long grey bar running along the right side against a red brick wall. Wooden tables and chairs are set up alongside a mirrored left wall. Daniel Krieger/Eater

Erik Torkells, Tribeca Citizen founding editor:
North End Grill (where Eric Korsh is in a real groove), The Harrison, I Sodi (my happy place), Franny's, Racines NY, Giorgione.

Mitchell Davis, Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation:
Roberta's: Always delicious, beyond reason...really. Particularly love the vegetables (salads and sides); also, of course, the pizzas.
Estela: Another place where they food is surprisingly, unexpectedly delicious, while still being interesting and creative.
Lunch at Del Posto: In my mind, the best Italian Italian food in NY. The most authentic flavors, but still creative.
Carbone: The best American Italian food in NY. Deeply satisfying renditions of red-sauce classics. Doesn't disappoint.
Los Tacos No. 1 (Chelsea Market): As they should be.

Ryan Sutton, Eater NY restaurant critic/data lead:
The Breslin, The Ace Hotel Lobby, Estela, Roberta's, PJ Clarke's, La Vara, Marta, Ivan Ramen, and Del Posto. What do all these venues have in common? All of them, save La Vara, accommodate guests anywhere from 10:45 pm to just before midnight on weeknights. That's hugely important to me for a very simple reason: sometimes I'm stuck at the office (or I'm out speed skating) until very late, and I know I'm not the only New Yorker (or out-of-towner) who works into the night and gets hungry for GOOD FOOD in the after hours. Our city's restaurants are open too early and they close too early. You want to make a regular out of me (and many more of us)? Let me swing by, as a walk-in, at 11:00pm on a Monday.

Bret Thorn, Nation's Restaurant News senior food editor:
Tofu on 7th is my go-to for Chinese delivery in Park Slope. Despite the crunchy, healthy sounding name, it has very good genuine Sichuan food.

Mission Cantina

Ben Leventhal, Resy co-founder; Eater co-founder:
Upland, Hillstone, Balthazar.

Danyelle Freeman,
I'm obsessed with trying new restaurants every chance I get, so I've never been big in the standby department, but I do have a few, go-to sushi spots that I frequent. Bar Masa & Blue Ribbon Sushi both turn out consistently high quality sushi as well as traditional Japanese dishes.

Then, there's Avra Estiatorio, one of the city's most underrated Greek restaurants. I'm a total sucker for their fish display, all of which is exceedingly fresh and happens to be way more affordable than Mylos. Their spreads and grilled octopus is great, too.

Helen Rosner, Eater, features editor:
I just moved to Crown Heights, so I'm eating through a regular rotation of Glady's, Bar Corvo, Ogliastro, and Mayfield.

Fung Tu...I can't stop thinking about their noodles.

Max Falkowitz, Serious Eats senior features editor:
Fung Tu transformed from a fun restaurant with a great wine list into one of the most inventive, thoughtful, and delightful places I dined at this year. I can't stop thinking about their noodles, which throw the concepts of linguine and clam sauce, Chinese clams and black beans, and tomato-enriched chili oil together in a bowl, or the steamed eggs with a spicy pork sauce and yucca chips for something that evokes both chilaquiles and mapo tofu.

Woodside Cafe's Himalayan menu also seems to get even better, especially now that you can inexplicably get their momos served in tomato-cream sauce, perhaps an homage to its former Italian roots. Elmhurst's Chao Thai and Bay Ridge's Tanoreen continue to hit home runs. (Don't you love it when an old reliable *stays* reliable?)


Devra Ferst, Eater NY associate editor:
Prune, Buvette, Court Street Grocers, Mission Cantina, Frankies 457

Charlotte Druckman, food writer:
Al di La, Annisa, Barney Greengrass, Bosie Tea Parlor, Buvette, Casa Mono/Bar Jamon, Estela, I Sodi, La Vara, Lupa, Prune, The Spotted Pig

Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief:
All'Onda, Rubirosa, Ootoya, El Quinto Pino, Estela, and in my neighborhood The Grand and Meat Hook Sandwich.

Joe DiStefano, Chopsticks and Marrow/enabler of gluttons:
The spicy Nepalese soul food Kamala Gauchan cooks up at Dhaulaghiri Kitchen kept me coming back. And John Brown Smokehouse was always there for me when that burnet end craving hit. Pata Paplean's weekend Thai noodle soup service was in heavy rotation too.

Lockhart Steele, Vox Media editorial director; Eater co-founder:
My lunch standbys rarely change from year to year — Lure and Rosemarys, now and forever — but my wife and I did discover a new dinner standby in 2014, right under our noses: Mark Joseph Steakhouse, on Water Street in the South Street Seaport. Living in the neighborhood, we've long been fans of Mark Joseph, a chophouse cast unapologetically in the Luger tradition (albeit with better wine and drinks). But we'd never made a go-to move of dining at the bar at Mark Joseph as often as we did this past year. Becoming a regular at a steakhouse is a strange and wonderful thing, good for the soul if not necessarily the diet, but I expect us to be perched there as often next year as we were this year past.


Matt Rodbard, Food Republic contributing editor:

Bergen Hill, GG's, Hanjan, Nightingale 9, Taro Sushi, Momofuku Ssam

Kat Odell, Eater editorial producer:
Marta, El Rey, Feel Food, Dimes, Estela, Uncle Boons, Contra, Sushi Dojo, Momofuku Ko, Breads Bakery, Taste of Persia, Taboonette, Ennju, The Nomad.

Andrew Steinthal, The Infatuation co-founder:
The Redhead, Raoul's, The Pub Room at Gramercy Tavern, Marlow & Sons...definitely not Schiller's.

Nick Solares, Eater NY senior editor:
Momofuku Ssam Bar, Mighty Quinn's BBQ, Cherche Midi.

Kao Soy for the delicious Chiang Mai sausage with rice, hot chili paste, and fried pork.

Chris Stang, The Infatuation co-founder:
I spent a good amount of time standing by the bar at Vinegar Hill House again in 2014. Worth it. I also spent a good amount of my discretionary income at Sushi Seki after midnight. Il Buco Alimentari might be the best "every meal of the day" restaurant around, especially if you consider eating baked goods and gelato at 4pm a meal, which I do.

Greg Morabito, Eater engagement editor:
A large chunk of my diet this year was take-out from Szechuan Gourmet. But in terms of dining out, I loved all my meals at Alameda in Greenpoint and 456 Shanghai in Chinatown. Nick Padilla's tomato tartine at Alameda is dish that I would happily eat every day.

Tejal Rao, Bloomberg restaurant critic:
Khao Soy in Red Hook for Kanlaya Supachana's delicious Chiang Mai sausages with rice, super hot chile paste, and fried pork.
On Tuesdays: Sherry and one-dollar pintxos at Huertas
For late breakfasts and clean-living-y type of days: Okonomi


Foster Kamer, Complex / First We Feast senior editor:
Jack's Wife Freda — nothing new, except I'm there more and more for dinner these days. The Peri-Peri Chicken may, in fact, be the most underrated, great piece of chicken in New York City, and I could probably house it in the same savage fashion every night, seven days a week. Raoul's on pay day. Elsewhere: Baz, Roberta's, Diner, and of course, Joseph Leonard — as ever, going up on a Tuesday, and pretty much every other day that ends in 'Y.' Needless to say, the death of Milady's has been bad for me, financially.

Marguerite Preston, Eater NY editor: Mission Cantina and Uncle Boons were on regular rotation this year, and Marta will be more so once it's easier to get into. But my all time number one standby, for the jerk chicken, the tiny dining room, and the fact that it's in my neighborhood is The Islands.

Darin Bresnitz, Snacky Tunes/Finger on the Pulse:
Mile End, Maison Premiere, The Cleveland (RIP), Roberta’s & Estela

Kim Davis, The Pink Pig:
Alder. Fritzl's Lunchbox (but don't tell everyone and spoil it).

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