Are you kidding us? Only a trio of New York spots made Esquire’s “best new restaurants” list. And while the places described all sound good, if the likes of Rialto in Cambridge have all but three New York restaurants beat, then Pace is the new Harvard. The fact is this list represents a kind of trans-Hudson affirmative action for the restaurant world. Food columnist John Mariani picks good restaurants located outside New York in place of the more deserving restaurants inside the city limits, such as Insieme, Sfoglia, Ssäm Bar, Suba, Hill Country, and many others. It’s not their fault that New York has more good places than the rest of the country put together!
We’re glad that Mariani named Michael Psilakis “chef of the year”, and Dennis Foy and Anthos are basically irreproachable choices, but how in the name of Jean-Georges Vongerichten did Porter House New York get in there? It’s not even the top steakhouse in the city, much less one of the top new restaurants! Mariani gives the game away when, in praising the place, he says “The sliced porterhouse here is as close to the Peter Luger’s Brooklyn paragon as you can find in Manhattan.” Actually, it’s better, but that’s not saying much; anybody can buy a good piece of meat and throw it under a broiler, and nowadays, everybody does. Mariani goes on to praise the macaroni and cheese and onion rings, which is even more ridiculous, given the lofty cooking this list is supposed to represent (not to mention that Adam Platt called them “forgettable”). Putting Porter House, which we like, on a level with Anthos and Foy is like casting Loretta Swit as one of Charlie’s Angels. And that’s where we draw the line.
Best New Restaurants 2007 [Esquire]