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Three NYC Restaurants Land on List of America’s Essential Restaurants

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Prune, Dumpling Galaxy, and Le Coucou rise to the top

A metal hot pot container rests on the counter of a table with white dumplings bobbing in yellow broth.
A dumpling hot pot from Dumpling Galaxy
Photo by Bill Addison

Eater’s yearly list of the 38 essential restaurants in the United States debuted on Wednesday, and three new New York City restaurants joined the list — Prune, Le Coucou, and Dumpling Galaxy.

Critic Bill Addison spends all year traveling the country seeking out the finest restaurants that exemplify dining right now. Like the local NYC 38, the list rotates regularly. Besides the three aforementioned restaurants, chef Dan Barber’s tasting menu destination Blue Hill at Stone Barns remained on the list.

It’s the first time chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s 18-year-old East Village neighborhood fixture Prune has been added to the national list. The chef “has influenced a generation by cultivating a clear sense of self,” Addison writes.

“Her diary-like menus express her appetites, memories, fantasies, and curiosities. Hamilton is an accomplished writer, but in the kitchen she is an equally gifted editor,” he writes of Prune.

Also joining the list is Helen You’s Flushing mall destination Dumpling Galaxy. Addison calls out spicy beef, lamb and squash, and pork and chive dumplings at the restaurant known for its menu with 100 different varieties of the Chinese dish. “She knows ingredient textures the way Van Gogh knew the feel of spreading paint across a canvas with his fingers,” he writes.

And finally, the breakout hit of 2016 Le Coucou made the national list of essential restaurants this year. The luxe French Soho restaurant from Stephen Starr and chef Daniel Rose is a fairytale with a space that embodies “a certain studied European elegance,” Addison says.

See the full list here.