Welcome to Year in Eater, Eater’s annual ritual of eulogizing the past 12 months through feedback from the city’s top food writers and figures. For 2023’s final week, Eater New York will be posting questions daily about the city’s restaurant scene over the past year, with answers from those who know it best: Eater editors and friends of Eater. Now: What was your favorite new restaurant, pop-up, or bar this year?
Izzy Baskette, writer, Thrillist: Ariari or Superiority Burger.
Mike Chau (@foodbabyny), Instagram influencer: Superiority Burger: Without question my favorite place to eat. I used to eat at the tiny location around the corner multiple times a week, so I am hoping they start all-day service again at this much bigger space so I can come even more often.
Charlotte Druckman, freelance writer: Raf’s: I ate Mary Attea and Camari Mick’s food and knew for certain that it was going to be in the regular rotation. (Those snails, that beef tartare, the leeks, the chicken... and then that caramelized white chocolate budino, which I swear is my favorite restaurant dessert in NYC. For real.) Bar Miller is a special place — it just feels right and I love to see a chef pushing themselves, taking risks, and having fun experimenting. I had a beautiful, inspiring meal at Mitica, and again, I loved the energy in the room and the total lack of pretense. Foul Witch also made me extremely happy — both the food and the warm but stripped-down, witchy, seductively infernal aura. Naro was a bright spot too, if a little more formal than the others. (I went à la carte and skipped the tasting production but I’d like to go back and try it.) Oh, and I’m a fan of Lord’s too (sending my love to the Welsh rarebit). Finally, you had to know there’d be a bakery here: ALF: It’s freaking perfection and Amadou Ly is a prodigy.
Jess Eng, freelance writer: Chef Shuichi Kotani of Uzuki in Greenpoint dazzled me with a brilliant noodle dance featuring 100 percent buckwheat soba noodles. Like any good performance, I couldn’t look away.
Amanda Kludt, publisher, Eater, Thrillist, and Punch: I love what Sunny Lee is doing over at Achilles Heel and think the combo of that room and her Korean food is really special. If I lived in Greenpoint, I’d be their best regular. Nearby, I was also super impressed with Emily Yuen’s cooking at Lingo and thrilled to get to have her food again after her last restaurant Bessou closed. Last but not least, I ended up at Cecchi’s quite a bit this year due to its location, ease and consistency of the food, the martinis and general electricity of the bar, and (most importantly) the perfect lighting in the dining room.
Scott Lynch, writer, Brooklyn Magazine and Hell Gate: Superiority Burger. Expectations were through the roof, and Brooks Headley (and dessert genius Darcy Spence) exceeded them on all counts. A smash hit on day one that also somehow keeps getting better.
Rob Martinez, producer, Righteous Eats: My favorite pop-up of the year is Border Town at Commune, which I highlighted as the unofficial season finale of my breakfast burrito series. I’d like to use this space to publicly apologize to Border Town’s regulars who have now had to suffer three-hour long lines to taste Jorge’s burritos and tacos de guisados.
Julian Mu (@mubereats), Instagram influencer: Nate’s Detroit Pizza, a new Detroit pizza pop-up serving up some of the best pizza out of a couple of breweries and a kitchen in Brooklyn: It’s the spot I’ve been recommending everyone to try in the past couple of months.
Caroline Shin, freelance writer: Boon Dee AYCE Thai hot pot and barbecue (so fun!); Datz Deli (oxtail mac and cheese patties that I didn’t know I needed in my life); Don Don (another winner from chef Sungchul Shim); Lingo (the beef pie with the marrow bone sticking out); Moono (traditional dishes done up just right); Bangkok Supper Club (that scallop granita).
Stephanie Wu, editor-in-chief, Eater: Libertine tops this list for me. As much as I love French food, I’ve had a hard time finding a restaurant that I feel captures the free-wheeling joy of dining in Paris’s hot restaurants. Libertine gets this, and more: The food is unpretentious but delicious, the setting is beautiful and comforting, and it’s absolutely the type of place where I want to become a regular.
Robert Sietsema, senior critic, Eater NY: Biryani has come into its own this year as one of the city’s best one-dish meals. When carefully cooked and arranged, it is beautiful to look at. It can be made with a broad range of main ingredients, satisfying carnivores and vegans alike, and there are many regional variations, too. The best new restaurant concentrates on it — Hyderabadi Zaiqa, which appeared in the heat of the summer in a cooling semi-subterranean space in Hell’s Kitchen. And its goat dum biryani was unsurpassed, concealing tender, bone-in pieces of goat beneath a blanket of fragrant rice in the Hyderabadi style.
Kate Kassin, editorial operations manager, Bon Appetit: I will blindly follow any restaurant that the Unapologetic Foods team opens and Naks is no exception. Eric Valdez, the longtime chef de cuisine at Dhamaka, is cooking the Filipino dishes he grew up eating in a family-style kamayan feast. I was so excited about this one that I booked it two months in advance as soon as the Resy opened and am already saving up my appetite for that extra bite of lechon.
Tae Yoon, editor, Thrillist New York: I’m still thinking about my dinner at Bangkok Supper Club. The Bangkok gai yang was definitely a highlight, and I especially loved its charred sticky rice that looks like grilled pineapple.
Ella Quittner, freelance writer: The Salon, the raucous monthly(ish) supper club put on by New York–based artists Ananya Chopra and Kritika Manchanda, which channels their childhoods with expertly composed plates of regional northern Indian food. (Highlights include their butter-soft mutton, and their haughtily puffed-up gol gappa, filled with a tangy chickpea mash.) Also: the brunch menu at Commerce Inn, which sauntered into existence this past summer and somehow renewed my interest in dining out before 2 p.m. I’ve been harboring this thesis that New York City is on the precipice of an English food revolution (as in, converting it from something New Yorkers love to dread, to something they crave) led of course by Ed Szymanski, of Dame and Lord’s, and bolstered by buzzy pop-ups like Will Ryan’s Percy’s. The weekend breakfast offerings at Commerce Inn, with its off-menu currant scones sandwiched around raspberry jam and clotted cream, and its brown bread-smoked fish spread, have only deepened my convictions.
Britt Lam, social media manager, Infatuation: The opening I was the most excited for this year was Naks. I haven’t actually been yet, so we’ll see if it lives up to the hype for me — but even if it doesn’t, I’m still happy to see more Filipino spots getting their time to shine.