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Dec 27, 2007 09:22 AM

My end of the year restaurant awards!

My end of the year restaurant awards. These include some of my favorite dishes that I've eaten this year.

And now, the envelopes please...

**The "For 250 dollars per person one dish had better be fantastically memorable" award goes to...

...Per Se's delicious Oysters and Pearls.

**The "Sorry PETA, but it tastes too good!" award goes to...

...A tie!

Jean Georges Foie Gras Brulee and Aquavit's Foie Gras Ganache! (runner up award to Eleven Madison Park's Foie Gras Brulee).

**The "Welcome back you heavenly Ambrosia award" goes to...

...2nd Ave Deli's matzah ball soup. Even better than I remembered!

**The "Who needs the second half of this dish?" goes to...

...Le Bernardin's surf and turf dish. The surf is so incredible that you don't need that Wagyu turf.

**The "I can't believe I don't need surf or turf "award goes to...

...The avocado tartar at Gobo.

**The "Omakase can be fun" award goes to...

...The charming Chef Seki of Sushi Seki and his wonderful cooked eel and avocado sushi from the omakase dinner.

**The "Forget the TV show, this is really amazing food" award goes to...

...Harold Dieterle of Perilla's guinea hen with spaetzle dish (and also the brussel sprout leaves sidedish).

**The "Forget the TV show and concentrate more on your food" award goes to...

...Gordon Ramsey's signature foie gras burger at his Boxwood Cafe in London. (I'm sneaking this onto the NYC board). This tasteless dish and the restaurant were both quite the disappointment.

**The "You can't get this treat from Mister Softee" award goes to...

...Restaurant Daniel's smoked cinnamon ice cream.

**The "I can have decent french fries and stay on a diet" award goes to...

...Better Burger's air fries. (250 calories!)

**The "Most original post-meal petits fours" goes to...

...Sammy's Roumanian Steak House for providing much needed alka seltzers at the end of a fun and decadent meal.

---And for service---

**The "At least some things on the lower East side haven't changed" award goes to...

...The rude uncaring members of the waitstaff at Katz's.

**The "At least some things French haven't changed" award goes to...

...The snooty waitstaff at Bouley.

Congratulations to all this year's winners!

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  1. Although not nearly creative as BW212 here are my standouts from 2007

    Best New Restaurant - Perilla
    Biggest Disappointment when the check came **TIE** - EN Japanese Brasserie, Dylan Prime
    Weirdest Desert that was excellent - Chocolate Cayenne Pepper Ice Cream at Kuma Inn
    Best New Burger - Royale
    Didn't Live Up To The Hype - Hearth
    Biggest Positive Surprise - Beef Ribs at Hill Country
    Biggest Negative Surprise - Spotted Pig

    2 Replies
    1. re: princeofpork

      I will vote for Allen and Delancey as best new restaurant. Definitely a notch better than Perilla (though I like Harold a lot)

      1. re: kobetobiko

        Have not tried A&D yet. Definitely on my list for 2008

    2. i disagree on yr comments on the staff at katz's and bouley...

      9 Replies
      1. re: sam1

        I once tried to buy a gift certificate from the staff at Bouley. I couldnt believe how incredibly unhelpful and rude they were. It's because of that I've never dined there. If I'm going to through my money at the company, at least the staff at Danube care.....

        1. re: tracyw19

          I called Danube 4 times over 5 business days to enquire about a private dining date. When the PDR manager never called me back, I asked the reservationist if there was someone else I could talk to. In an incredibly obnoxious tone of voice, she said that I had to understand that they were very very busy, and NO, there was no one else who could talk to me. So, I booked Grayz, and the PDR person there couldn't have been nicer.

        2. re: sam1

          Fair enough. It's just my experience..

          At Katz's I don't mind the attitude. It's old school deli.

          At Bouley (and other Bouley owned restaurants) I really really do. And it's the only one of the top French restaurants that I've eaten at which I've found that to be an issue. We've had lovely, friendly and fun servers at all the other ones I've mentioned above.

          1. re: BW212

            Hey, BW212,

            Loved your very entertainingly written awards. :-)

            I haven't been to Bouley, but I've been to many other upscale French restaurants, including Daniel and Jean Georges, as well as more moderately-priced ones, and have not encountered snooty service in any of them. And from what you say now, with the exception of Bouley, that's been your experience as well. Too bad the window for editing your o.p. has closed because, in all fairness, the wording of your award in that category should be changed so that it does not appear to be about *all* French restaurants, which is how it reads now.

            1. re: RGR


              You are so right. I was just playing off the hackneyed stereotype of snooty French people to make it fit what I was writing.

              So my sincere apologies to all* people of France, French descent and their restaurants.

              (*With the exception of a handful of people in the Bouley corporation, who have made more than one of my meals much less pleasant than they should have been.)

              1. re: BW212

                A very graceful apology, BW212! :-)

                Btw, with regard to Katz's, who deals with the wait staff? Table service is for tourists -- at least, those tourists who don't come to Chowhound to get the skinny on the right way to do Katz's. It's counter service! :-))

              2. re: RGR

                I too have had wonderful experiences at Daniel and Jean Georges. But I stand by my Bouley experience :)

              3. re: BW212

                I agree 100%. We stopped going to Bouley many years ago due to the service problems.

              4. re: sam1

                sam1 - I agree with your disagreement regarding Bouley. Just had a most pleasant 4 hour meal with my GF at Bouley. We found the entire staff to be completely enjoyable from the moment we were met at the door. Every dish was served with a gracious explanation of the components as was the wine. The wine steward was more then generous with the pours and on several wines offered more when a particular wine was seen to be enjoyed. I've found more attitude at neighborhood Italian restaurants...

              5. Without question, this year's recipient of the "It's the Great Pumpkin Goes To China, Charlie Brown" award is Amazing 66 (Chinatown), for serving up a delicious version of pumpkin with short ribs. (Danny Ng would have provided some competition here. Alas, they closed).

                3 Replies
                1. re: Polecat

                  From what I heard, the chef and staff of Amazing 66 are all from Danny Ng.

                  1. re: Polecat

                    Did you have to order this dish in advance?

                    1. re: Produce Addict

                      Yeah. I was advised to do so two hours in advance, but it never hurts to check in with them earlier and make a reservation.

                  2. HAHA! Very hilarious and entertaining post, BW! Thanks for sharing. However, what on earth is Foie Gras Brulee?? It sounds AMAZING!!

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: Melanie


                      Foie gras brulee is like creme brulee but made with foie gras. I've not had it at Jean Georges, but at Eleven Madison Park, Chef Humm serves a small dish of foie brulee alongside his layered foie gras torchon. Not that his torchons are too shabby, but that brulee is a mind-blower!! :-))

                      1. re: RGR

                        Melanie- Thanks for the compliment. Also (and more importantly) foie gras brulee is obscenely decadent. So rich and delicious! It is insanely good.

                        RGR- believe it or not, as good as Eleven Madison Park's is, Jean Georges is even better. You must try it!

                        1. re: BW212


                          We went to Jean Georges for the first time in October and had the tasting menu of his signature dishes, which, for whatever reason, does not include the brulee. However, the next time we go, it's definitely on my agenda.

                          1. re: RGR

                            They'll make substitutions from the regular menu onto the tasting menu if you ask.

                            1. re: BW212

                              True enough. But we did want to try the dishes that were on the tasting menu as it stood. So, nothing wrong with leaving something to very much look forward to next time.

                    2. I second the Foie Gras Ganache at Aquavit! Delicious!