241 Church Street, 212-925-0202
One expects a certain level of service when the linen contains more starch than a priest’s collar and the waiters look like they could have worked your parents’ wedding. The servers swirling ’round the luminous resin tabletops at 66, on the other hand, are hardly more than kids. But they’re as sharp as their Vivienne Tam uniforms. Not only has Jean-Georges stratified his troops into an impressively choreographed, rarely-miss-a-beat hierarchy, but with an absence of arrogance and frequent bursts of delight, waiters describe food preparation with such assurance that it’s not hard to imagine any of them taking over as a line cook on a moment’s notice. Added resonance comes from the fact that so many of the predominantly Asian staff can speak from personal experience. “Hue Dew wine is lighter than mirin. My mom says it brightens the seafood,” said one waitress. “The grapefruit dipping sauce isn’t traditional, but it’s better than what my grandmother serves with dumplings, believe me,” said another. We do. .
From the 2004 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine
So what exactly does “best” mean in a city with thousands of pizza joints, hundreds of celebrity masseuses, and museum-worthy concept shops on every corner? Well, in the case of this, our annual “Best of New York” roundup, there’s a heavy emphasis on what’s new or what has somehow remained virtually unheard of (until now, of course).