Restaurant of the Year: Cosme
In 2015, Cosme soared past everyone’s incredibly high expectations. The first New York restaurant from Mexico City superstar Enrique Olvera has a casual bar room in the front where people congregate over margaritas and guacamole after work, and a stylish dining room in the back where guests tuck into duck carnitas, cobia al pastor, and uni tostadas with bone marrow. It’s a one-of-a-kind restaurant that's totally in synch with what diners crave in 2015.
Chefs of the Year: Pam Yung and Jose Ramirez-Ruiz
At Semilla, a tiny tasting counter in Williamsburg, Pamela Yung and Jose Ramirez-Ruiz serve mostly vegetables with meat as accent notes. The result is something that's deeply satisfying, and totally unique. Compared to the other grand meals served in New York City, the $75 tasting at this mom-and-pop restaurant is also something of a steal. In his rave review, Ryan Sutton notes that Semilla is "the only new restaurant in quite some time to merit four stars right out of the gate."
So Hot Right Now: Bruno Pizza and Fuku+
David Chang surprised New York with the opening of a fried chicken sandwich shop in the old Momofuku Ko space at the beginning of the summer. Then, a few months later, he dropped another crispy-fried bomb by debuting another iteration of Fuku with a slew of new menu options — including Chongqing-spiced chicken fingers, Sichuan pork flatbreads, and cheese-stuffed Jucy Lucy burgers. Fuku + is one of the best new cheap eats options in Manhattan, and it's proof that David Chang still has more than a few tricks up his sleeve.
Bruno Pizza came out of nowhere and immediately captured the attention of NYC's downtown trendsetters. At this East 13th Street restaurant, Justin Slojkowski and Dave Gulino are serving some of New York's finest new pizzas, along with pastas and vegetable dishes that are refreshingly strange and totally delicious. Bruno manages to give diners what they want and something they don't expect at the same time.
Bartender of the Year: Leo Robitschek
Leo Robitschek runs an incredibly tight ship at The Nomad, its spinoff bar, and Eleven Madison Park. Under his guidance, every drink is prepared precisely and efficiently — whether it's a classic or one of his house creations — at all hours of the day or night. This year, Robitschek revealed some of his secrets with a mini-manual inside of The Nomad Cookbook.
Stone Cold Stunner: The Polo Bar
Dining at Ralph Lauren's Midtown restaurant is like stepping into a Douglas Sirk movie about a family of equestrian aristocrats in Connecticut, 1953. The space is an instant classic.
Shitshow of the Year: Tavern on the Green
If the godfather of California Cuisine can't save this place, nobody can.