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The 38 Essential New York Restaurants, January '14

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It's time to update the Eater 38, your answer and ours to any question that begins, "Can you recommend a restaurant?" This highly elite group covers the entire city, spans myriad cuisines, and collectively satisfies all of your restaurant needs, save for those occasions when you absolutely must spend half a paycheck. Every couple of months, we'll be adding pertinent restaurants that were omitted, have newly become eligible (restaurants must be open at least six months), or have stepped up their game.

As the official 38 map has now passed its fourth birthday, we here at Eater felt it was time for a full on reset of the list. After much re-evaluating, debating, and a couple good hard looks in the mirror, we kept about a third of the list, brought back a handful of 38 alums, and filled the rest of the slots with new additions. Welcome to the new Eater 38, rejiggered for the New Year.
Rather than a stage-4 meltdown over our having excluded your favorite restaurant from the list, wouldn't it be more productive to just nominate it for inclusion?

Note: Restaurants are listed based on geography, starting with lower Manhattan.

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Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process. If you buy something or book a reservation from an Eater link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics policy.

Oriental Garden

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[Photo: Foursquare]

Tamarind TriBeCa

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[Sam Horine]

Rubirosa

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This lively Little Italy restaurant is one of your best bets for classic red-sauce cuisine in New York City. Make sure to try one of the homemade pastas, and one of the ultra thin-crust pizzas.

[Krieger]

Balthazar Restaurant

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[Photo: Krieger]

The Dutch

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[Krieger]

Peasant

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[Foursquare]

Ushiwakamaru

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[Photo: Foursquare]

Charlie Bird

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[Photo: Bess Adler]
[Photo: Krieger]

Momofuku Ssäm Bar

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[Photo: Facebook]
[Krieger]

The Spotted Pig

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[Photo: Krieger]

ABC Kitchen

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[Photo: Krieger]

Gramercy Tavern

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[Photo: Krieger]

The Cannibal Beer & Butcher

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[ Krieger]
[Krieger]

El Quinto Pino

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[Bess Adler]

Szechuan Gourmet

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[Photo: Yelp]

Keens Steakhouse

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[Keens]
[Krieger]
[Amali]

Donguri

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[Photo]

Bar Boulud

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[Photo: Noah Kalina]

Red Rooster

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[Krieger]

This comfortable aerie above a hair salon offers some of the finest Tibetan food you’ve ever tasted, representative of the flock of Himalayan restaurants that have taken over the Jackson Heights dining scene. There’s blood sausage, meaty curries, the ragged noodles called thenthuk, and don’t miss the wiggly mung-bean jelly laphing, carpeted with Sichuan peppercorns. -- Robert Sietsema

Gregory's 26 Corner Taverna

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Tucked away on a side street, this may be the rustic Greek taverna you’ve dreamed about, offering steaming plates of zucchini fritters, fried salt-cod with garlicky skordalia, and fresh fish brought right to the restaurant by Long Island fishermen who are friends of the owner and left swimming on the porch in buckets. -- Robert Sietsema.

Pondok Jakarta

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There’s too damn little of the peanutty and coco-creamy Indonesian food in town; this friendly small café offers the hawker food of Jakarta, a riotous mix of fried chicken in several guises served with fiery sambals and a boiled egg; chicken and lamb satays, and salads featuring tofu, peanut sauce, sprouts, and the compressed cylinders of rice starch called lontong. -- Robert Sietsema

M. Wells Dinette

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Maybe the art at the attached the museum ain’t always so good, but you can depend on this Motrealithic café to turn out food stunningly beautiful and stunningly delicious, with colorful flourishes worthy of a Mondrian or Kandinsky, via chef Hugue Dufour. Open only in the afternoons till 6 p.m. -- Robert Sietsema.

Glasserie

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[Bess Adler]

Reynard

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[Krieger]

St. Anselm

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[Photo: Facebook]

Roberta's Pizza

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[Photo: Facebook]

Mile End Delicatessen

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[Photo:Facebook]

Littleneck

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[Krieger]
[Krieger]

Totonno's Pizzeria Napolitano

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[Photo: Bess Adler]

Thirty Acres

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Kevin and Alex Pemoulie are serving inventive and all-around delicious New American food in Jersey City right now. If you hop on the Path Train, or find a friend with a car to take you across the river, you're guaranteed to be charmed by Thirty Acres.