Sifting Through Sam Sifton’s Favorite Restaurants

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As part of its new iPhone app, the Times has asked Sam Sifton to compile the Sifty Fifty, a list of the critics current favorite restaurants. He includes some man-of-the-people picks (Great N.Y. Noodletown, Bereket, Cabo Rojo, La Caridad 78, Veselka), some Batalis (Babbo, Casa Mono, Del Posto), some hip-staurants (Prime Meats, Motorino, Diner, Prune, Momofuku Ssäm), some old-schoolers (La Grenouille, Keens, Il Cantinori, River Café, Chez Napoleon), some clubhouses (Minetta Tavern, Waverly Inn), and some high-enders (Sushi Yasuda, Per Se, Marea, Le Bernardin, Casa Lever, and Eleven Madison Park, but no Daniel Bar Boulud being the one Bouluder). The man likes his barbecue (Fatty Cue, Blue Smoke, Hill Country), his pricey Asian (Devi, Shun Lee Palace, Mandangsui, Peking Duck House), his not-as-pricey Asian (Ippudo, Imperial Palace, Grand Sichuan Eastern, Baoguette, Pam). And some wear-your-Oxford neighborhood spots: Ouest, Strip House, Red Cat, Peasant, Balthazar, Elios, Landmarc, and Locanda Verde. Also, Tanoreen.

Curiously, Colicchio & Sons isnt on the list despite winning a rare three stars from Sifton. Some two-star picks also dont make it: Oceana, A Voce Columbus, Maialino, Novita, Recette, SHO Shaun Hergatt, and the Mark. Meanwhile, one-star picks like Purple Yam, Madangsui, Fatty Cue, and Motorino do appear on the list. Of course, Sifton has every right to recommend restaurants that dont end up on his list of personal favorites, but its worth asking: If joints like Fatty Cue and Motorino deserve to be in the Sifty Fifty, why do they only get one star?

Also worth a look: Pete Wellss list of favorite bars. Gotta love the man for including Franks Cocktail Lounge, Greenpoints Palace Café, and Bills Gay Nineties (which also gets some love from Vanishing NY today) with the usual mixology suspects.

Pete Wellss 25 Current Favorite New York Bars [Diners Journal/NYT]
Sam Siftons 50 Current Favorite New York Restaurants [Diners Journal/NYT]