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A collection of dishes from Superiority Burger.
A spread from Superiority Burger.
Lille Allen graphic; Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet photo

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Here Are 2023’s Eater Award Winners for New York City

The best restaurant, biggest surprise, and the restaurant where we’d be regulars the year

The Eater Awards recognize excellence in the restaurant industry over the past year in cities across the country. It has not been an easy year for restaurants as the effects of the pandemic continue to hobble them, from the price of labor to the cost of ingredients, and, as always, sky-high New York rents. But despite the limitations, there have been some head-turners that have opened in every borough — including a destination-worthy vegetarian comeback, a hidden gem for biryani, and a French bistro that lives up to the hype. Here now, the editorial staff presents New York’s 2023 Eater Awards.

A roll jam-packed with dressed tofu skins.
The yuba verde at Superiority Burger.
Jutharat Pinyodoonyachet/Eater NY

Superiority Burger: Best New Restaurant

Okay, so it’s not exactly a new restaurant, but in its new Avenue A location — with actual seats, booze, an expanded menu, and daytime to late-night hours — it might as well be. Superiority Burger, at 119 Avenue A, near East Seventh Street, checks all the boxes that warrant deserved side-eye: The dirty martini costs more than most restaurant workers make in an hour and, yes, these small plates are meant for sharing. Despite those conventions, and maybe because of them, Superiority Burger is genuinely surprising. With a full dining room and some fresh faces in the kitchen, owner Brooks Headley has shown what he can do with more space in the kitchen. Dishes from the original burger counter — tofu skin sandwiches, burnt broccoli salad — are as good as they were in the original location, although they now compete for table space with spectacular new creations, like stuffed cabbages and collard green sandwiches. The East Village diner is an example of a new kind of vegetarian restaurant, where people are willing to wait in line, sometimes for hours, even if they eat meat. Not only is it the “buzziest restaurant in America,” it’s something much better: a place to drop in any night of the week, if we could. — Luke Fortney, reporter

Biryani with goat on a serving plate.
Gongura chicken biryani from Hyderabadi Zaiqa.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hyderabadi Zaiqa: Best $20 Spent

Haderabadi Zaiqa, at 366 West 52nd Street, just east of Ninth Avenue, is a modest walk-down space in Hell’s Kitchen decorated with a map showing nearly 30 regional biryanis of India. Perhaps the menu’s most important dish is goat dum biryani: marvelous bone-in chunks of goat tossed with saffron-laced rice and sealed in a pan as they are slow-cooked, lending the rice maximum flavor. Past this one, there are plenty of biryanis to choose from, like gongura chicken biryani with fragrant leaves of a type of hibiscus, and others that show off shrimp, eggs, lamb, paneer, and various vegetables — even a bright orange one that features the Andhra mango pickles called avakaya. Also consider the soups and appetizers, like tomato pepper shorba, with a thin and strikingly orange broth laced with chiles, or chicken vepudu in a creamy herbal sauce. — Robert Sietsema, critic

A dish with sausage and potatoes at Libertine.
Saucisse puree from Libertine.
Evan Sung/Libertine

Libertine: Biggest Surprise

The West Village long ago dispensed with its cookie-cutter French bistros — you could almost recite their menus in your sleep: steak frites, onion soup, frisée aux lardons, blah, blah, blah. But suddenly appears Libertine at 684 Greenwich Street, at Christopher Street, sporting a sexy name and unimpeachable glassware, a dining room right on Christopher Street that looks like it had been there forever, offering a new definition of what a bistro can be. Chef Max Mackinnon partly reaches back in time to the 19th-century origin of the bistro, via dishes that have an almost rural quality, as if to appeal to homesick Paris transplants from other regions: a giant pork sausage lolling on a volcano of mashed potatoes, for example, or a scallop par-baked in bechamel in its shell. Then there are the dishes that seem new, like floury gnocchi in a sharply tart sauce of busted yellow cherry tomatoes, or a lamb shank resolved into a compressed fibrous brick — but what a tasty brick it was! Natural wines prevail, but get a glass of the rose, as the New Yorker epicure, A.J. Liebling, used to do in his favorite bistros — it goes with everything. — Robert Sietsema, critic

A takeout order on an orange tray.
An order from Mama Yoshi Mini Mart.
Evan Angelastro/Eater NY

Mama Yoshi Mini Mart: Best Pop-Up-Turned-Restaurant

After a stint overseeing the food offerings at the roller disco-themed bar, All Night Skate, Yukiko Muneyasu and Miles Tickler opened a permanent home for their Japanese American food pop-up last winter. Now in Ridgewood, Mama Yoshi Mini Mart, at 17-11 Grove Street at Cypress Avenue, looks to konbini, Japan’s convenience store food, as a reference. Here find delicious, spicy chicken or cauliflower katsu sandwiches and Spam breakfast burritos as well as to-go items like freshly-made onigiri. Overall, the experience at Mama Yoshi Mini Mart feels like it was made to meet the moment — one that speaks to a craving for bang-for-buck, creativity, and a restaurant that doesn’t take itself too seriously. — Emma Orlow, reporter

A stew, broth, and a roast chicken thigh.
Curry laksa mee and the roast chicken thigh set at Hainan Chicken House.
Emma Orlow/Eater NY

Hainan Chicken House: The Restaurant Where We’d Be Regulars

At 4807 Eighth Avenue, at 48th Street, Sunset Park’s Hainan Chicken House, opened by Chris Low and his family, lives up to its name by serving supple, comforting Hainan chicken — a Malaysian rendition with rice balls, a lesser-seen variation here in New York. Its namesake dish, as well as other items, like its heaping portion of curry laksa, warrants returns throughout the year. But it’s Low and his family’s constant innovations in its specials menu — from rose chiffon cake with lychee-champagne jam to yellowtail fish curry and mussels in a curry broth with roti — that makes every visit so satisfying, with something new for even the most steadfast regulars. — Emma Orlow, reporter

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