After a week of reader’s choice voting, it’s finally time to announce the New York City winners of the 2017 Eater Awards — the eighth annual time Eater’s celebrating the top talent from 24 cities around the world. These are the restaurants and chefs that have driven the conversation and impressed the hoards in dining this year. Thanks to all who voted (except, ahem, the bots). Below, find out more about the editor’s choice winners, which will receive Eater’s illustrious tomato can trophies via FedEx. And stay tuned for features on all the winners.
Restaurant of the Year
The Grill, Major Food Group
Frankly, lots of people did not want to like The Grill. Major Food Group — known for splashy openings and very expensive food — remain the Yankees of the dining world, and entering a historic, landmarked space like the one in the Seagram Building has been their most high-profile project yet. Couple that with the millions of dollars backing the restaurant and a controversial landlord, and The Grill, the first of three restaurants to open in the property, was one of the most watched openings this year. But MFG killed it. The renovation looked stunning. The food’s fantastic. The service is chatty yet fancy. Dining there feels like old-school New York luxury, and though it’s been a destination for celebrities, even the common folk who save up to eat there can feel like a Kennedy.
Readers’ Choice Winner: Hanoi House
Chef of the Year
John Nguyen, Hanoi House
Orange County, California native John Nguyen seemed to come out of nowhere — for years, he mostly worked under the radar at Stephen Starr restaurants. Bu this year at Hanoi House in the East Village, his talents have come to the forefront. People have been going nuts for Nguyen’s deft take on Vietnamese fare, with praise for a slightly non-traditional version of pho that’s powerful, fragrant, and has diners returning for more. As a result, the restaurant has been swamped virtually since its January opening. Other dishes, like Cajun rice batter-fried frog legs and his version of bun cha, present an exciting and soulful interpretation of Vietnamese food that makes Nguyen well worthy of this year’s award.
Readers’ Choice Winner: TJ Steele, Claro
Most Gorgeous Restaurant of the Year
Chinatown's historic Doyers Street may now be its most stylish with its roster of Apotheke, Nom Wah Tea Parlor, Pulqueria, and new addition Chinese Tuxedo. The bar at the entrance belies the open, clubby room set slightly below that allows for ample people watching at any angle — which makes sense, considering it used to be an opera house. Lit by candles and decorated with lush palms, mid-century modern chairs, and exposed concrete walls, the room is understated yet undeniably sophisticated. To sit in Chinese Tuxedo is to feel a part of NYC's trendy, fashionable scene.
Readers’ Choice Winner: DaXi Sichuan
All-Day Restaurant of the Year
White Gold Butchers, April Bloomfield, Ken Friedman, Erika Nakamura, Jocelyn Guest
All-day restaurant is almost an oversimplification of White Gold’s social utility. Yes, it serves April Bloomfield’s signature meat-heavy fare from morning until night without pause. But it’s also an extended breakfast spot, hawking $8 PEC (pastrami, egg, and cheese) sandwiches until 3 p.m. It’s a butcher shop with too many pork sausages to count. It’s a takeout spot for savory meat pies like beef and red wine pasties. It’s a dinner spot with an impressive roster of small plates. And, heck, it’s almost a co-working space, with lunch patrons regularly breaking out their laptops to work for an hour or two. White Gold is an all-purpose, year-round, community center of a restaurant.
Readers’ Choice Winner: Daily Provisions
Imported Restaurant Chain of the Year
2017 flooded New York City with Japanese chain restaurants, and the one Eater editors can’t stop frequenting is E.A.K. Ramen. Pronounced like its name, the petite restaurant serves iekei-style soup, which is not as thick as tonkotsu and not as thin as shoyu. The result is a Goldilocks chicken- and pork-based broth with a just-right weight that appropriately sauces chewy noodles that are closer to udon in thickness than the average wavy variety. E.A.K. hopes to open hundreds of U.S. outposts in the coming years, which in Eater’s opinion would be a very welcome addition to this country’s rapidly growing ramen scene.
Readers’ Choice Winner: Tim Ho Wan