Welcome to Year in Eater 2019, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months through input from the city’s top food writers. For 2019’s final week, Eater NY will be posting questions daily about New York City’s restaurant scene in the past year, with answers from those who know it best: Eater editors and friends of Eater. The next topic: What were the top restaurant newcomers of the year?
Joseph Hernandez, food and drinks writer: Rezdora blew me away. Such supple, simple pastas dripping in technique. Speaking of noodles, the offerings at Jiang Diner *slapped*. Serving cuisine from China’s Xinjiang region, this BYOB spot (at the time, I don’t know if their policy has changed) killed me with the pungent, flavorful spices and interesting, new-to-me noodle shapes. Highly recommend. Joe Campanale’s LaLou was also a bright light in 2019 — it’s so civilized.
Amanda Mull, staff writer at The Atlantic: Hunky Dory in Crown Heights. The egg sandwich with lamb-and-pork sausage, my god. Also, the new Hometown BBQ outpost at Industry City, which is the only place to get its stellar pastrami sandwich.
Charlotte Druckman, food writer and editor of Women on Food: Bread & Salt (OBVIOUSLY!!). St. Julivert Fisherie (it opened at the end of 2018, so I think it counts). PASTIS, v 2.0 (HALLELUJAH!). Fabrique (welcome, cardi buns--and eff you if you throw a penalty flag for its being a bakery)
Matt Rodbard, founding editor of TASTE: Kāwi from the jump has been exciting and unexpected. Wayla, the Sweetgreen concept thing was cool. Taladwat, what an incredible deal. Franny’s Pizzeria in Highlands, NJ. Watch out!
Korsha Wilson, writer: Bread and Salt is such a gem and the kind of everyday restaurant that every neighborhood wants to have. Van Da blew me away with their dumplings and friendly service.
Robert Sietsema, Eater NY senior critic: Rezdora, Angel Indian, Wayan, Montesacro, Red Hook Tavern, La Fondita
Amanda Kludt, Eater editor-in-chief: I had this week in the fall where I ate at a bunch of pizza places, including New York institutions and hyped out-of-town spots and random places in my neighborhood, and I found them all underwhelming. Do I even LIKE pizza anymore, I wondered? Do I even know what good pizza IS? Then I went to F&F Pizzeria, the new slice place from the Franks (with some guidance from Chad Robertson of Tartine and Chris Bianco), and I fell hard. The crispy crust on the regular slice, the slight funk on the cheese, the subtle sweetness of the sauce. The thick chew of the grandma slice. It’s great to eat while you hover over one of the standing tables, or folded, while walking down the street, or eaten out of the box in the back of a car.
Chris Gayomali, GQ site editor: Tailfeather, a natural wine bar in Clinton Hill that opened in dangerously close proximity to my apartment, and Win Son Bakery, even though getting seats there on a weekend requires a level of depravity that I fear I don’t possess.
Sonia Chopra, Eater director of editorial strategy: I love Golden Diner on the Lower East Side, which opened in March and is juuust close enough to our office to make it a good standby for lunch or breakfast meetings. The matcha coffee cake is awesome, and so is the yuba sandwich. I’m so happy about Kolkata Chai opening in the East Village and Malai Ice Cream in Cobble Hill.
Cathy Erway, food writer: Win Son Bakery, Mo’s Original, New Yee Li
Anna Hezel, Senior Editor at TASTE: Leo, Lokanta, Kawi, and the new location of Ali’s Roti shop that opened three blocks away from my apartment.
Rachel Wharton, food writer and author of American Food: A Not-So-Serious History: If I am being honest I think the only one on any “top” list from 2019 I have actually been to is Birrialandia, a Roosevelt Ave. taco truck, from a former Del Posto dude. And it was pretty damn good. If only they’d drive over to my hood in Brooklyn.
Alex Staniloff, Eater NY photographer: It’s been a lot of fun to take visitors, and myself, to Mercado Little Spain and walk from bite to bite with a glass of sangria.
Serena Dai, editor of Eater NY: Wayan, Haenyeo, Kawi, Gertie, Win Son Bakery, HaiDiLao. I dream of Ciao, Gloria’s take on a rainbow cookie and Fabrique’s cardamom bun regularly, and BLESS New York for its upped bubble tea and rice noodle roll game in 2019. Yes, I will drink an entire day’s worth of calories in one sitting at the Alley.
Ryan Sutton, Eater NY’s chief critic: Kawi, Llama San, Haenyeo, Bread and Salt, Wayan, Rezdora, Win Son Bakery, Yi Ji Shi Mo, Hunky Dory, Gertie, Noodle Bar Columbus Circle, HaiDiLao
Disclosure: David Chang is producing shows for Hulu in partnership with Vox Media Studios, part of Eater’s parent company, Vox Media. No Eater staff member is involved in the production of those shows, and this does not impact coverage on Eater.