Welcome to Year in Eater 2022, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months through input from the city’s top food writers and New York figures. For 2022’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. Now: What was your best restaurant meal of 2022?
Scott Lynch, contributor, Hell Gate and Brooklyn Magazine: Grateful for the incredible, fun-as-hell feasts served to me and loved ones at Masalawala and Sons, Shukette, Five Acres, Musket Room, Semma, Laser Wolf, and Wenwen. But one of the best times I had eating anywhere may have been at S&P, late afternoon during opening week, chatting giddily and sharing food with fellow diners, wolfing three delicious sandwiches, and a mustardy knish, feeding off the energy of the room, and, by extension, of this amazing city of ours. Basically: Matt Ross and Eric Finkelstein nailed it.
Nicolas Heller, New York Nico: Lakruwana in Staten Island. Ajo y Oregano in the Bronx. Llama Inn in Brooklyn.
Stephanie Wu, editor-in-chief, Eater: We had such a good meal at Oiji Mi, the new place from the Oiji team. The bo ssam with pork belly and oysters — served as part of the prix fixe menu — was so good, as was the chili lobster ramyun and bing soo dessert. Plus, the service was impeccable and the space is fantastic.
Korsha Wilson, food journalist: This is really hard because the way we experience dining depends so much on the context of the meal (Is it a solo meal at a bar? Is it a date? A friend get-together?) But the meals that blew my mind, in no particular order: Dept of Culture in Brooklyn, Razza in Jersey City, Musket Room, Da Toscano, and Corner Bar in Manhattan.
Carina Kaufman-Gutierrez, deputy director, the Street Vendor Project: Mrs. Jiang’s sago soup at the Chinatown Night Markets, everything from King of Falafel and Shawarma in Astoria, tacos dorados from Justina’s Gloria’s Buffet at 74th Street and First Avenue, Herlinda and Hilario’s chicharrones preparados on Fourth Avenue and 58th Street in Sunset Park, and though not a meal, getting freshly made, crispy churros around 1 p.m. when subway vendors start their shift, makes my day.
Christopher Robbins, Editor, Hell Gate: Three-way tie between a plate of Jalisco Tacos in Mott Haven, Thanksgiving dinner at Nubiani in Koreatown, and Friday night dinner with friends at John’s of 12th Street.
Ryan Sutton, chief food critic, Eater NY: It would be too hard to choose a single “best” meal but I had a tough month in July with post-COVID symptoms and I just remember going to Corner Bar near the end of the month and having a nice steak and a martini and feeling grateful to be back out having a good time in the city again.
Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet, photographer: A meal at Wo Hop with my girlfriend. This place is legendary. You couldn’t resist hot sweet and sour soup. After eating there a couple of times, I became friends with the restaurant staff. I’ve heard they will sell a rabbit t-shirt in the upcoming year. I gotta have one.
Jaeki Cho, host, Righteous Eats: In New York, Pikine was one of the most surprising meals I had. I never had Senegalese food prior to that experience, so I didn’t know what to expect. The thiebou djeun, with that joloff rice, flavored with tons of seasoning and juices from cooking the fish, tasted amazing. And they serve the burnt rice from the bottom of the pot on top of the meal, which was crunchy and reminded me of Korean nurungji. After I bit into that scotch bonnet, which was pretty hardcore, that stimulated my appetite even more. You gotta fight heat with heat.
Mike Diago, writer, the Bittman Project: Ernesto’s. After submitting an article that took me a couple of months, I spent my whole fee on a meal with my wife and mother-in-law. We ordered almost everything on the menu, plus some great cider. The open-faced Spanish tortilla with truffles and Iberico ham, plus the foie with roasted peach and garlic were special.
Deanna Ting, New York editor, Resy: It’s so hard to pick one best restaurant meal of 2022, but if I had to pick one for New York, it might be the meal that I had at the Atoboy x Kasama pop-up back in September. Every dish was just so lovely and so personal, combining Korean and Filipino American flavors and ingredients beautifully.
Tae Yoon, senior editor, Thrillist: While I enjoyed plenty of great meals at new debuts this year, the dinner that I thought most about afterward (for way too long) was actually at Smith and Wollensky. Plenty of well-established spots in town solely live off the legacy of their name, but this place has definitely still got it.
Robert Sietsema, senior food critic, Eater NY: A sneak-in dinner at Claud, in which a friend and I were seated at a narrow dining shelf by the front door, where the snail fritters and chicken in foie gras sauce blew us away — not to mention a unique and by-the-glass accessible wine list.
Caroline Shin, contributor, Eater NY: We have a lot of family celebrations at Chilsung Garden in Oakland Gardens, and in the spring, my sister did a gender reveal there. My parents spoke Korean with all the servers, and we ordered a ton of celebratory Korean dishes — both examples of meaningful community comforts a restaurant provides. Our long table was packed with grilled duck, nakji bokkeum (spicy stir-fried octopus), seafood pancake, mul nengmyun (cold noodles), and assorted soups.
Sara, Madison, and Carly Shapiro, Sister Snacking: Honestly, Noz 17 truly impressed us. We hadn’t done an omakase of that caliber and never experienced the attention to detail from a sushi chef. Every bite was thought out with small touches to impress the guest. Our favorite bite may have been a tempura fish we enjoyed and the server handed us a cold mini chilled glass of beer to go along with it. It was simple but elevated the dish in a really nice way.