This week at the Gray Lady, Sifton & Co. weigh in with all of their year-end roundups. We were especially curious about the "& Co." part of the equation, because we've been finding the last year of "Dining Briefs" and "$25 & Under" columns especially eclectic and, at times, downright educational. (Korean-Uzbek food? Check. Escargot panini? Check.)
Oliver Strand, Ligaya Mishan, Dave Cook, Betsy Andrews, and editor Pete Wells chose fifteen restaurants to highlight: eight in Manhattan, one in Queens, five in Brooklyn, none in the Bronx, and — props to the team — one in Staten Island. The list leans somewhat toward fried chicken and Mexican, but there's also Indian and Taiwanese, Thai and Italian.
An e-mail to Pete Wells inquiring about their process reveals that, sadly, there is no master map of the five boroughs on a wall, no color-coded pushpins, as we had so hoped. (Hey, it's hard getting a good mix of boroughs and cuisines!) Wells also reminded us that the Times has been covering non-European restaurants since the days of editor Craig Claiborne, way back in the fifties, and that Eric Asimov "took readers all over the globe" when he helmed the "$25 and Under" column. Noted, Mr. Wells. We'll consider it over some funchoza in Brighton Beach.