Lifestyle

11 of the Most Unfair Yelp Reviews of NYC's Best Restaurants and Bars

Published On 03/23/2014 Published On 03/23/2014
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1. Death & Company 433 E 6th St, New York, NY 10009 (East Village)

Death & Co. is a high-end, dimly lit sanctuary for both the casual AND professional mixologist/cocktail enthusiast. Responsible for launching the careers of many of New York's most prominent bartenders, this speakeasy has produced a 500-recipe cocktail book and enough top-notch drinks to keep both locals and newcomers ready for the wait, and insatiably eager for another visit. Martinis are served in 5oz glasses with the remainder in an iced carafe, and Old Fashioneds are reinvented with reposado tequila, mezcal, and a flaming orange. While the decor is certainly reminiscent of Prohibition-era times, the drinks remain cutting-edge.

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2. Momofuku Ssäm Bar 207 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

The word Ssäm refers to a Korean dish of wrapped meat, much like a burrito. Momofuku Ssäm Bar, David Chang’s no-reservations, East Village restaurant centers around Ssäm and similar Korean street food, with a heavy focus on pork and offal. (Vegetarians, tread lightly: the menu states that meatless options are available upon request, but that’s really what you're here for.) From the daily changing menu, staples that should be ordered without question include pork buns (a few, at least), kimchee (obviously), fried Brussels sprouts, cured country hams, and Ssäm, which is only available in large-format at dinner. Aside from a shorter table wait, lunch service offers individual Ssäm options like rotisserie duck, pork shoulder, and beef brisket. Always order extra pancakes.

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3. Roberta's Pizza 261 Moore St, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)

Don’t be dissuaded by the gritty, graffiti-splattered cinder-block facade, Roberta’s is among New York’s most celebrated pizzerias, having made an international footprint (sauce print?) with visiting Europeans and local Bushwick loft-dwellers alike who endure long waits on nights and weekends for a table. Inside the red front door, you'll find a warm dining room and open kitchen where blistering discs of dough are pulled out of an Italian-made wood-burning oven and given names like Speckenwolf (mozzarella, crispy speck, cremini mushroom, red onion, oregano) and Millennium Falco (parmesan, pork sausage, red onion). The final product is Neapolitan-like in taste and structure, and since you probably won't have any leftovers, do yourself one last favor and buy a loaf of bread from the on-site bakery on your way out.

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4. Le Bernardin 155 W 51st St, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

Le Bernardin is the Meryl Streep of the New York restaurant scene. It has all the necessary accolades for being the best (three Michelin stars, seven James Beard awards), and other restaurants don’t even try to compete with it. Chef Eric Ripert has mastered the art of seafood in the form of a caviar-heavy prix fixe menu that tastes best with the optional wine pairing. Add white tablecloths and five-star service, and you’ve got a once-in-a-lifetime dinner.

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5. The Spotted Pig 314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014-2369 (West Village)

April Bloomfield's West Village restaurant and bar is a fan-favorite among celebrities, lifetime New Yorkers, and tourists, known for its bucket list-worthy chargrilled roquefort burger with shoestring fries. The British-meets-Italian gastropub famously doesn't take reservations, but it's also open until 2am nightly, so if you can't get a table during peak dinner hours, then a late-night seat at the bar is your best bet -- and probably the most quintessential New York experience.

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6. wd~50 50 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Wylie Dufresne's world-famous, Michelin-starred resto's dishing out innovative new American eats of the molecular gastronomy variety.

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7. Babbo 110 Waverly Place, New York, NY 10011 (West Village)

Mario Batali’s flagship restaurant is a charming former carriage house in the West Village serving high-end Italian fare with an elevated, chef-inspired twist on classic dishes. The pasta here is certainly worth the hype, like the pillowy potato gnocchi, cuddled in shreds of tender oxtail that’s been sautéed in a robust red wine and tomato-based ragu.

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8. The Dead Rabbit 30 Water St, New York, NY 10004 (Financial District)

The Dead Rabbit is a cocktail sanctum, taproom, small-plates resto, and "grocery." This Irish-American-inspired duplex in the Financial District -- boasting vintage saloon-like vibes and decor -- will make you feel as if you've traveled back in time. The taproom, which is located on the ground floor, is a traditional Anglo-Hibernian pub, where you can order craft beers, bottled punch, and a variety of whiskeys. If you walk upstairs you'll find the parlor, with an ambiance equally as charming as the pub, but with a heavier focus on communal punch and cocktails. The small "grocery" is actually a corner in the taproom, where they sell an assortment of dry goods, but most notably Irish and British imports that are otherwise hard to find.

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9. Peter Luger 178 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY 11211

This New York institution (opened in 1887) is specifically known for its old-school, impeccable waitstaff and its sizzling, perfectly cooked, buttery porterhouse. The wine list sticks to a strict but to-the-point number of options that pair perfectly with the dishes, and the lunchtime hamburger -- a mix of ground chuck and trimmings from the aged steaks -- is simply something you can't get anywhere else.

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10. Pok Pok Ny 117 Columbia St, New York, NY 11231

Andy Ricker's Michelin-starred restaurant on Brooklyn's Columbia Street Waterfront specializes in Northern Thai food, a regional cuisine that favors pork and deep-frying over spiciness and coconut milk. Pok Pok's menu is filled with family-style plates like deep-fried pork riblets, minced pork salad with crispy fried garlic, and insanely good chicken wings, deep-fried and coated in fish sauce. There's usually a wait at peak dinner times, especially for a table on the back patio in the summer.

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11. Betony 41 W 57th St, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

Betony is a new-American, chic grubspot that's doling out fresh and innovative eats in a 35-seat bar and lounge, and 85-seat dining room.

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12. Masa 10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019 (Midtown West)

If you'd like to see what makes a meal worth most people's monthly rent, head to Masa. Masayoshi Takayama, chef and owner of this New York City sushi standard, manifests perfection in fresh fish dishes prepared with hyper-conscious attention to flavor interactions and plating techniques. Posted up in the Time Warner Center, you'll forget the bustle of Columbus Circle and the mall crowd below as you indulge on delicate nigiri and mackerel of the highest echelon.

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13. Craft 43 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003 (Flatiron)

Come to craft if you want to be blown away by the cuisine and seemingly impossible pairings. Try their delicious American Wagyu Carpaccio or Braised Halibut if you feel like something fishy.

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