We reviewed a lot of restaurants this past year - 148, to be exact. We enjoyed most of them, because, come on, even the mediocre food in this city is pretty damn good. But there were some meals we enjoyed more than others, and when you write about that many restaurants in a 365 day period, things can go overlooked.
As a result, we've decided to provide you a summary of the 15 restaurants with highest ratings on Immaculate Infatuation in 2013. We're (mostly) limitingthis list to restaurants that opened in 2013, so this is essentially ourversion of the typical "15 Best New NYC Restaurants Of 2013" piece. There will also be a part two tomorrow with the 10 restaurants that we're most excited for in 2014.
Fire up your Hit List and get ready to come at 2014 hard.
### Charlie Bird
Five-star service, a relaxed approach to excellent wine, consistently delicious food, and a little bit of hip hop. Overall, Charlie Bird was our favorite new restaurant of 2013.
Speedy Romeo actually opened in 2012, but being that it's hidden in plain sight in Clinton Hill, let's pretend for the purpose of this feature that it opened in 2013. Chances are, this is the still best restaurant you haven't been to, let alone heard of. Speedy Romeo specializes in St. Louis-style pizza, but it's everything else that they cook in that wood-burning oven that keeps us coming back.
Betony is a high-end Midtown restaurant from a former Eleven Madison Park chef, but it's much more relaxed than those descriptors might make it sound. It's most certainly a fine dining establishment, but there's just enough informality to the menu and the service that you won't feel like you're eating at church. You might, however, feel like you're eating in a Russian oligarch's living room. The decor in this place is ridiculous.
Run by two young, risk-taking chefs, Contra is a restaurant that 2013 you would have expected to find in Brooklyn. But 2014 just might be the year that Manhattan makes a comeback, and this place will be leading the charge. The $55 five-course tasting menu changes constantly, and we've yet to have a meal here that wasn't full-on fantastic.
Luksus at Tørst
This past year saw a number of delicious things suddenly happening in Greenpoint, an area formerly most famous for pirogis and Polish dance clubs. One of our favorite new restaurants of this past year, Luksus, is a small tasting room in the back of a beer bar, Tørst. We love the juxtaposition of eating high-end cuisine while deep house cuts pulse through the sound system. Untuck and enjoy.
Mighty Quinn's BBQ
2013 was the year NYC BBQ went from laughing stock of the league to serious contender. Suddenly, we're a BBQ town, with Mighty Quinn's leading the way. Their brand of Texas meets Carolina meets East Village smoked meats is by far and away the best Manhattan has ever seen. The pulled pork and brisket are both excellent, but it's the real show-stopper is the massive beef brontosaurus rib, pictured above.
### Tanoshi Sushi
Tanoshi is one of the best omakase sushi experiences you can find in New York City, and it comes at a better price than all of its contemporaries. Getting a reservation is the tough part, with three seatings a night around the ten seat sushi bar. Oh, and it's BYO-sake, so you'll want to do that.
Carbone was fawned over like Jennifer Lawrence at the Academy Awards in 2013. With the exception of one infamous review, pretty much every major food outlet slobbered all over Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone's grand interpretation of a throwback red sauce joint, including us. Come with a big crew and prepare to have a blast at dinner.
An adventurous, interesting restaurant by a chef of Portuguese descent, who makes everything from pasta to sashimi. This is one of the places we visited most this past year, and we love it for its consistency and creativity.
The perfect destination for the next Special Occasionmeal in your life. Piora is a beautiful restaurant tucked into a cozy West Village nook, and the food will make you feel just as good as the space does. Piora is a serious meal, and one you certainly don't want to miss.
More on the subject of BBQ, this time a car ride away in Red Hook. Hometown Bar-B-Que is the first New York BBQ operation that truly nails the essence of Texas ‘cue.
Picking up right where ABC Kitchen left off, Jean-George and Dan Kluger add a Latin twist this time and now have a small plates empire in the making. Pretty much everything we've tried at ABC Cocina is amazing, but the crispy fish taco is officially our new favorite fish taco in NYC. Even at $6.50, it's worth every penny.
What started out as a "noshery and yoga room" is now just the former. Assuming you know what a "noshery" is, know that this is sneakily one of the best. Take Root's $85 tasting menu is excellent. Just know that it's tricky to get in, as they're open Thursday through Sunday with only 12 seats. Regardless, this is a Unique Dining Experience worth working for.
### Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop & Gotham West Market
We can't get enough of Gotham West Market, the expertly curated high-end food court in Hell's Kitchen. GWM is exciting for a lot of reasons, from Court Street Grocers' crazy sandwiches to The Cannibal's full slate of meats and beers. But the biggest draw is the first ever permanent location of Ivan Ramen outside of Tokyo. If you're into ramen, we suggest you get here. Fast.
French restaurants have had a sudden resurgence here in NYC over the last couple years, and while we love smaller bistro types like Calliope and Le Philosophe, Lafayette is the grand brasserie New York's been lacking for some time now. Baltzhazar had a nice run, but the torch has been passed.