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While Some Critics Look Back on 2014, Others Review White Street, Shuko, and More

Tejal Rao is not impressed by White Street, but the new Madiba in Harlem is a hit with Michael Kaminer.

Daniel Krieger

While Eater's critics took a break from reviewing this week, many others paused to look back on the best of 2014. Now here's a roundup of what the critics were talking about this week:

Pete Wells listed his top 10 newcomers, with Batard at the top: "[Markus] Glocker's flavors make sense, and when he fusses with an ingredient, it's not for the sake of showing off; it's because he's bringing to the foreground some quality that we may have missed." Russ & Daughters Cafe and The Simone round out the top three. [NYT]

Tejal Rao reviews White Street, Floyd Cardoz's new venture in Tribeca, which she finds mostly unimpressive: "The kitchen's technique and timing was inconsistent. First there was an octopus tentacle – sliced in a tasty pool of fat with chickpeas, olives, and potatoes – that was thoroughly overcooked. Then a short rib, dubbed a personal-favorite-can't-miss-signature-dish by an enthusiastic server, turned out to be cartoonishly tough and bouncy." One star. [Bloomberg]

Michael Kaminer reviews the new Harlem outpost of Fort Greene's popular South African restaurant, Madiba: "[Mark] Henegan fashions boerewors, traditional South African sausages, from beef tenderloin, with very little filler; they're earthier and meatier than the pork Jell-O most places pass off as sausage. Pap – a grits-like porridge –makes a terrific companion, absorbing juices and runoff from acidy sweet tomato-onion gravy." Four stars. [NYDN]

Christina Izzo reviews Shuko, where Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau are serving omakase and kaiseki meals with some echoes of their Neta days, as well as some new dishes: "Playful newcomers include house-made mochi squares, as toasty as summer-night marshmallows and dabbed with a richly nutty pistachio miso; a tempura-fried cake of scallop, carrot and burdock with a latke homeyness; and a hunk of short rib, atop a slick of squash puree, rendered so weak-in-the-knees tender, it fall aparts at the mention of a chopstick." Four stars [TONY]

Zachary Feldman looks back on the highlights of the year, which range from burritos at Mission Cantina, to prime rib at Cherche Midi, and the jerk pork at Gladys: "Highlights emanated from brows both high and low: affordable aperitifs and bright, herb-filled salads at Claudette in Greenwich Village; fermented soybean stew and intensely fresh vegetables grown by a Korean matriarch at Myung San in Flushing; a pizza topped with razor clams (followed by an exceptional grandma pie) at GG's in the East Village." [VV]

THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan rounds up some of her favorite cheap eats, with Lumpia Shack Snackbar at number one, followed by Khao Kang in Elmhurst. Amelia Lester visits Balvanera, an Argentinian steakhouse on the Lower East Side. Gael Greene says Via Carota makes for a good neighborhood restaurant, but not a destination.

THE BLOGS: Chekmark Eats is happy with The Little Beet Table, Chopsticks + Marrow loves the beef with crisp pepper at Hunan House, NYC Foodie names his top 10 restaurants of 2014, which include GG's at number one, followed by Tuome, NY Journal is charmed by The Clam, though not blown away, and Restaurant Girl lists her favorite restaurants in both Manhattan and Brooklyn and Queens.