3 West 18th Street, 212-366-1414
Sure, everybody loves a winner—until he never loses. So when Jean-Georges Vongerichten, the city’s most effortlessly successful chef, opened 66, it’s no wonder the knives came out. One critic invoked condoms to describe the texture of a dumpling dish. A certain glossy-magazine editor went ballistic when not paid proper homage (or handed an ashtray). This one didn’t like the service. That one said you can’t see everyone because of all the walls. Fine, stay away. Some people happen to like the thoroughly modern and soothing Richard Meier design, knowledgeable waiters who treat everyone with equal deference, and a menu that wonderfully reinvents a once-exhausted cuisine. You will not find dungeness crab with lotus-seed crust, lobster E-Fu noodles, and pea-shoot-and-tofu dumplings at your neighborhood Empire Szechuan, no matter who you are.
Best Bitched-About Restaurant We Really Like
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).