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 spring 2016 Eater 38 adds/drops:
— Marta, Danny Meyer and Nick Anderer's terrific Italian restaurant in the Martha Washington Hotel, is leaving to create a space for Stephen Starr and Justin Smillie's charmer Upland, just a few blocks away. This is Starr's first appearance on the New York 38. He earned it.
—Soho Italian restaurant Charlie Bird is, by all accounts, still firing on all cylinders, and the early word on its spinoff Pasquale Jones is also great. But the Bird is leaving the map so that nearby Emilio's Ballato on Houston Street can get some time to shine. It doesn't have a wine list to match the one at CB, but it serves the kind of hearty red sauce fare that just can't be beat.
— Ratchanee Sumpatboon's Larb Ubol is still one of the best Thai restaurants in the Midtown/Hell's Kitchen area, and its delivery game is especially strong. But it's moving off the 38 to make way for the eclectic Thai restaurant Uncle Boons, which is an Eater staff favorite, and a very fun place for group dining.
— Patsy's up in East Harlem is a living piece of history that's worth visiting if you love pizza and New York nostalgia. But this time around, it's getting swapped for Emily in Clinton Hill, a pizzeria that's serving some of the finest pies in all the land right now.
— Betony is an excellent fine dining restaurant, but it's now just a bit too expensive for the 38. It's getting replaced by Gabriel Kreuther, which offers prix fixes, but also has a robust barroom menu that's available during lunch and dinner.
— Batard is an excellent fine dining restaurant with warm service and a casual dining room. It's certainly worth a visit if you've never been. But right now, Eater's editors are more enthralled with Wildair, which also serves super soigne food in a relaxed setting.
— Four restaurants are leaving the map because they are deemed to be more neighborhood gems than culinary destinations: Mile End in Boerum Hill, Szechuan Gourmet in Midtown, Ootoya in Times Square, and Killmeyer’s Old Bavarian Inn on Staten Island.
— Filling those slots are four unique restaurants that are at the top of their respective games right now: Fedora in the West Village, Oiji in the East Village, Tanoshi on the Upper East Side, and Russ & Daughters Cafe on the Lower East Side.