2018 Eater's Essential list

Yay for Here’s Looking at You, Park’s BBQ, Mariscos Jalisco, and N/Naka.


At least for the cities I know something about - LA, NY and New Orleans these are odd but strangely interesting choices. I love HLAY and Via Carota - and I kind of agree that both may be among the top in their respective cities - but they would not have been the places I would have thought of when listing the best restaurants in America. OTOH, Brennen’s in NOLA was horrible last time I ate there about a year ago.

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More diverse and interesting than most such lists, though it’s kind of ridiculous for any one person to write such a thing.

I believe that such lists are inherently flawed. Also, the results are pretty much always both underinclusive and overinclusive. Of course, it’s all subjective and it’s not a science, but calling these the 38 “best” is clickbait mostly. I get that the article calls them “essential,” but that doesn’t really help.

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… but, but, but San Pellegrino’s 50 Best?!


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authoritative, infallible gospel. nobody knows like the water boys, nobody.


I think lists are great when they’re the honest opinion of a single bylined author and the capsule reviews are good. This is just what Bill Addison is thinking in fall 2018.

The one-word mantra that steers my thinking, and also the city-based Eater 38 maps, upon which the list is modeled, is essential. Which places become indispensable to their neighborhoods, and eventually to their towns and whole regions? Which ones spur trends, or set standards for hospitality and leadership, or stir conversations around representation and inclusivity? Which restaurants, ultimately, become vital to how we understand ourselves, and others, at the table?

I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree on the value of these lists. I get that they’re his opinion, and he’s certainly entitled to that. He’s traveled extensively for this and as he admitted, this is his life. I don’t doubt that they’re popular and influential; I just think it’s going to be very hard to be “accurate” - especially when limiting the country’s offerings to just 38 - with a title like

“Essential,” ok - but arguments can be made for others that were not included, and vice versa. Anyway, I’m not a fan of these restaurant lists in general, but I’m sure there is an audience for them.

If the article were called something like “Bill Addison’s Take on the Country’s 38 Most Emblematic Restaurants of 2018” I’d have less of a problem; but that doesn’t come off as easily as the “38 Best Restaurants in America.”

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Most lists are not the opinion of one person or even the consensus of a group small enough to form one.

Bill Addison has been around for quite a while and earned my respect. I might actually go back to that second-rate dim sum place in Daly City to see if it’s any better.

I maintain that these kinds of “best restaurants in America” lists - whether they’re the opinion of one person, a small group, or big group - are fraught with difficulties. I’m not familiar with Bill Addison; though I hardly read any published food media for their review content. Bill Addison may have been around a long time and that’s great; he obviously puts in a great deal of effort and I can certainly respect that. His list just isn’t something I really agree with when scanning it for the locales with which I’m most familiar. I haven’t found a reviewer that has similar tastes to me or my dining group. I’ve found more similar tastes here at FTC.

If you’re talking about Koi Palace, I think it’s worth another try - it’s not “second rate” in my book, though I will say recently I’ve been frequenting Dragon Beaux more.

I assumed robert was making a joke about KP. To tell the truth, we’ve not been but adored DB.

This guy lost credibility when he included June Baby in SEA. It’s good but it’s not close to THAT good. But it’s new kid on the block with a James Beard award.

Second-rate by San Francisco dim sum standards. I found the dishes hit and miss, maybe half were great but Yank Sing is more consistent. Have not been back since we got shockingly bad service at dinner:

Maybe things have improved since they failed to recognize Michael Bauer and Cecilia Chiang and he stopped giving them undeserved plugs in his top 100.

Do you consider Yank Sing “first rate” by SF standards? If so, I think we’ll just have to disagree since I think we have different tastes when it comes to Chinese food.

Unfortunately, service at most Cantonese restuarants in the Bay Area is hit or miss, especially during busy hours, but I don’t consider that a knock on the experience usually.


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How did Koi Palace end up on a “best” list? :sweat_smile: It’s really no better than any of the top tier LA offerings as is Dragon Beaux. However, I will admit that some of their offerings are more creative…

Koi Palace took reservations for lunch and completely ignored them.

At dinner, they gave away the roast pig we had pre-ordered, then let scuzzy evangelicals come in and play incompetent folk music and go table to table begging.

Ok that’s definitely not normal service :astonished:

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OH my. Well, that’s quite something :frowning:

Apparently Addison would rather have called it the Eater 41.

And now LATimes food critic Addison