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The One Word That Defines NYC’s Restaurant Scene in 2018

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Top food writers summed up the city’s past year in dining using (mostly) just one word

Potted plants hang from the ceiling in a naturally lit dining room with bar stools, high-top counters, and exposed brick. Photo by Jean Schwarzwalder

For this next segment of Year in Eater 2018, editors and friends of Eater were asked to keep answers brief: What’s one word that describes NYC’s dining scene in 2018? The answers that followed point to key trends and issues shaping the city’s restaurant world today, while also giving us an idea of what to expect in 2019.


Serena Dai, editor of Eater NY: Heartening

Helen Rosner, New Yorker food correspondent: Cautious

Alicia Kennedy, food and spirits writer: Hearty

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, associate reporter for Eater NY: All-day

Chris Gayomali, senior editor at GQ: RESY.COM

Monica Burton, associate restaurant editor at Eater: Neighborhood-y. I found myself saying something along the lines of, “I’d go here all the time if I lived here,” about many of the new restaurants opening up this year.

Priya Krishna, writer and author of forthcoming cookbook Indian-ish: SALAD. (2018 was the year of the salad!)

Matt Buchanan, executive editor at Eater: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Kat Kinsman, Extra Crispy senior food & drinks editor and Food & Wine contributor: Recalibrating

Ryan Sutton, Eater’s chief critic: Bifurcated. On the one hand, you saw mega-developers and some established restaurateurs doing — or preparing to do — some incredibly boring things. And then on the other hand so many small operators seemed to be fighting against this corporate monotony with all these splendid spots serving new Chinese, creative Vietnamese, and modern Korean in hip and affordable-ish settings. The hope is that one day the big money starts to realize it’s okay not to open yet another sleepy brasserie or steakhouse.

Matt Rodbard, editor-in-chief, Taste: Landlords (good lord)

Stefanie Tuder, senior editor of Eater NY: Reassuring

Robert Sietsema, Eater NY senior critic: Encouraging. Despite greedy landlords and heartbreaking closures, the restaurant industry continues to adapt with all sorts of new configurations, producing excellent food at both the high end and low end. The people will be fed.

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