Every three months, the Eater 38 gets a fresh update. After poring over comments, emails, and tips from friends and readers, the Eater editors take a good, hard look at the list and ponder which restaurants need to be re-evaluated, and which could be added to the map. After an intense period of professional eating, note-taking, and debating, the list is whittled down to the 38 restaurants that reflect what's exciting and essential about dining in New York.
Occasionally restaurants leave the list because of dips in quality or changes in personnel, but more often than not, they're moved off the map to free up space so that other amazing restaurants can bolster the all-star team. With that in mind here's an annotated guide to the Fall 2016 Eater 38 adds, drops, and switches:
— Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s La Vara continues to offer a captivating mix of Spanish, Moorish, and Sephardic cuisines. But it's leaving the 38 to make room for the duo's Chelsea restaurant El Quinto Pino, which will celebrate the important decade birthday next year.
— Both Santina and Toro are big establishments from serious restaurant groups. They continue to offer first class dining experiences in their respective genres. But we are making room for Marco Canora’s Hearth and Missy Robbin’s Lilia — two restaurants from chefs with long and distinguished careers who have reinvented themselves.
— After a long and distinguished run on the 38 we must bid goodbye to Amali. It's still a great option in the neighborhood, but we wanted to set our sights further uptown and recognize the incomparable fried chicken at Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken.
— Finally, Brooks Headley’s Superiority Burger makes the list not just because it is more fun than a barrel of monkeys, but because it perfectly defines the spirit of the age. Midtown's very good Gabriel Kreuther is leaving the map this time so that Superiority can take that spot.
Update: A reader alerted us to the fact that Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken quietly closed for a move shortly after we paid a visit last month. The restaurant is due to reopen on 132nd Street but it is currently not in operation. In its place we are going to once again honor Patsy’s Pizza of East Harlem, a recent visit confirmed its continued excellence and timeless charm.