Having pawed and pondered this week's Best of New York issue endlessly, we knew that the only way we could possibly make up our minds about it was to pester Adam Platt into giving us his thoughts on why he made his picks, who he had to leave out, and what his reasoning was. Since Platt is always readily available on IM, the following chat answered our questions and made our peace with his picks.
Ozersky: I see the Best of New York just came out. Do you really stand behind your picks? Are they really the "best"?
Platt: You know my position on passing absolute judgments, especially about food. It's a very subjective situation, and all you can do is give an informed opinion. That’s all Best of New York is. I will say that there were a few things I would have liked to include. There was a superb short rib at a restaurant in Brooklyn called Moimthat I would have liked to write up. There's also a great crispy chicken dish in Brooklyn at a place called Lucky 8 that the editors considered a little too obscure. As a rule, though, I like reading the issue more than writing it.
Ozersky: Me too, except for one thing. I have to say that I was a little disappointed that there was no best burger in this issue. I thought your “best un-beef burger” was a cop-out. What is your favorite burger? Do you have one? Just cough it up, already!
Platt: My favorite burger is Shake Shack. No contest.
Ozersky: What about the contest for best ramen? Was your winner, Setagaya, neck and neck with Momofuku?
Platt: Well, Momofuku isn't really a ramen bar, is it. Setagaya's the real thing, straight from Tokyo, complete with towel-headed ramen ninjas behind the bar, and legions of faithful ramen geeks slurping down bowls of that delicious "shio ramen."
Ozersky: But does that mean their soup is better? What do I care if it's more authentic?
Platt: Yes, that means the broth is better. What do you know about ramen, Mr. Pork Chop?!?
Ozersky: What do you think the broth is made of? Speaking of pork, I had to wonder at you picking Adour. In a city with so much great bacon, sausage, char siu, chops, and all the rest, I find it hard to believe that ultrarefined number there could be the best.
Platt: It's a matter of taste, Cutty! The Adour dish combines all the thing you pork fiends crave: artisanal flavor, good old-time fattiness (there's a little stamp of candied belly on the side), and a wheel of loose, handmade boudin noir thrown in.
Ozersky: I'm glad I didn't have to write that one. I think my brain would have exploded. I'm glad, too, that I didn't have to do the lasagne category. Marco's is fantastic, but so is the mushroom-driven version at Fiamma.
Platt: I didn't like the Fiamma lasagne much. I dimly recall it being sludgy and brown and weirdly sweet. In my humble opinion, the lasagne verdi at Insieme is a more faithful gourmet iteration of this great family dish.
Ozersky: What about the part where you pick your favorite new restaurant? Did you and Gail and the Robs divvy that up? Was Dovetail your real pick, or did you cede another place to one of them?
Platt: It does sound like we divvied them up, but Dovetail was my real pick. I liked the unlikely location, and the range of the cooking. Also it's the last good restaurant I've dined at. After a month or two my memory fades.