In July, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells surprised foodies everywhere when he knocked iconic Upper East Side restaurant Daniel down from four stars to three after finding that servers treated famous guests differently from unknown ones (he still raved about the food).
The move left the city — one of the fine dining meccas of the world — with just five restaurants with four-star reviews from The New York Times.
Today, however, the acclaimed critic handed 10 stars to Sushi Nakazawa, a small sushi bar in the West Village opened by an acolyte of famed Japanese sushi chef Jiro Ono ( the subject of the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi. ")
"[Nakazawa] picked up a palmful of rice and began to serve one of the four most enjoyable and eye-opening sushi meals I have ever eaten," Wells wrote. "I had the other three at Sushi Nakazawa over the next few weeks."
New York City once again has six four-star restaurants.
Del Posto : Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich's upscale Italian restaurant near the High Line got four stars from Sam Sifton in October 2010. He declared: " Del Posto’s is a pleasure that lasts." The five-course dinner menu is $115 per person.
Eleven Madison Park: Critic Frank Bruni granted four stars to Eleven Madison Park in August 2009. Restaurateur Danny Meyer sold the restaurant to chef Daniel Humm in 2011, and The Times has yet to revisit. The dinner tasting menu is $195 per person.
Jean Georges : Bruni visited Jean-Georges Vongerichten's eponymous restaurant in 2006 and found it to be a notch above any of the other restaurants in Vongerichten's empire, writing, " while the food at Jean Georges may no longer be novel, it still thrills, and this restaurant still presents an experience unlike others around town." The three-course dinner tasting menu is $118 per person.
Le Bernardin : In May 2012, Wells assigned four stars to Eric Ripert's midtown east restaurant , writing, "n o other restaurant in the city makes the simple cooking of fish (and the fish at Le Bernardin is cooked simply, when it is cooked at all) seem so ripe with opportunities for excitement." The four-course dinner tasting menu costs $130 per person.
Per Se : Wells gave a top rating to chef Thomas Keller's restaurant at the Time Warner Center in October 2011, calling it "the best restaurant in New York City." The prix fixe dinner menu costs $295 per person.
Sushi Nakazawa: Wells adored his meals at the 10-seat sushi restaurant in the West Village. His December 2013 review of the 21-course sushi dinner said, " The moment-to-moment joys of eating one mouthful of sushi after another can merge into a blur of fish bliss. But almost everything Mr. Nakazawa cups in his hands and places in front of you is an event on its own." The Omakase menu costs $150 per person at the sushi bar and $120 per person in the dining room.
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