We're all entitled to our opinions, unless we're a terrible person and we're posting ridiculous opinions on Yelp, which's why we took to the internet aggregator of knee-jerk reactions and hyperbole and found 11 of the most unfair one-star reviews of some of the consensus-best places in NYC.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Craft
Little-known fact: Tom Colicchio actually sourced these plates from an artisanal elephant donkey-puncher. Good eye, Yelper, good eye.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: The Dead Rabbit
Note to bar owners everywhere: if you don't want a one-star review on Yelp, always -- ALWAYS -- have some Cosmos on hand.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Roberta's
YES! Let's boycott everyone that won't serve us after they've closed, like those fat cat restaurants in Manhattan. LET THE RATS ROAM FREEEEEEEE.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Masa
What you may have been looking for is something called a "Teriyaki Boy". Also, we think you're gonna be pretty disappointed about how much they charge for sushi at Whole Foods, too.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Le Bernardin
While it's tooootallly plausible that Eric Ripert wrote over 1,000 positive reviews and you shouldn't trust them, we're thinking maybe this guy just sort of missed the point here.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Death & Co.
They're right. In old-New York, nobody ever tried to be cool, they were mostly just trying not to get mugged.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: momofuku ssäm bar
In order to get two stars, you must A) blow this guy's mind, B) not be too expensive, and C) have totally cool music. That's the bar just to get past one. On the plus side, if you're a young banker, now you know where to blow your bonus.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Peter Luger Steakhouse
Although we enjoy their steaks, their burger, and the general air of one of NY's most classic institutions, we are willing to agree that bread is pretty much the best part of every meal ever... so at least there's that.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Pok Pok
Sorry Pok Pok, it sounds like the cast of Clueless does not appreciate hipsters, awesome wings, and they are also possibly allergic to chilis.
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: Betony
You're right, anonymous internet user: we should all be taking your advice over The New York Times or NY Mag, although they probably would appreciate your love of semantics. Beware, people looking for snacks!
Great Place This Person Is Reviewing: The Spotted Pig
Oh no! Jay and Bey are going to be heartbroken when they hear you don't want to hang with them :(
1. Death & Company433 E 6th St, New York
2. Momofuku Ssäm Bar207 2nd Ave, New York
3. Roberta's Pizza261 Moore St, Brooklyn
4. Le Bernardin155 W 51st St, New York
5. The Spotted Pig314 W 11th St, New York
6. wd~5050 Clinton St, New York
7. Babbo110 Waverly Place, New York
8. The Dead Rabbit30 Water St, New York
9. Peter Luger178 Broadway, Brooklyn
10. Pok Pok Ny117 Columbia St, New York
11. Betony41 W 57th St, New York
12. Masa10 Columbus Circle, New York
13. Craft43 E 19th St, New York
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.
Let’s start with the name. The word Ssäm means “to wrap,” and refers to a Korean dish of wrapped meat, much like a burrito. Now that we’re all experts, let’s dive into David Chang’s egalitarian, East Village hot spot, Momofuku Ssäm Bar. The restaurant’s stools and communal tables have been coveted and constantly full since its inception in 2006, when Chang introduced the Asian burrito to the New York dining scene. And as with most of, if not all of Chang’s restaurants, there’s always a wait, and trust us when we tell you it’s worth it. Chang’s convivial concept features Korean streetfood with global -- primarily local -- influence, with a heavy focus on pork and offal. (Vegetarians, tread lightly: the menu states that vegetarian options are available upon request, but that’s really not the point.) The beverage list features Asian-inspired signature cocktails (Yuzu Kir Royale, Seven Spice Sour) as well as classics, and sizeable selections of sake, beer, and wine. The menu changes daily, but a few staples remain and should be ordered without question: pork buns (a few, at least), kimchi (obviously), fried Brussels sprouts, cured country hams, spicy pork sausage and rice cakes, and an ever-changing, large format Ssäm. At lunch, you can enjoy any of five individual Ssäm options; order extra pancakes.
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.
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.
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.
Wylie Dufresne's world-famous, Michelin-starred resto's dishing out innovative new American eats of the molecular gastronomy variety.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.