Like everyone else in NY I look forward to the new Zagat Guide coming out every year. This year's appeared this week, and it was mostly the same old same old. But there was one thing I noticed that stuck out like a sore thumb. The Best Newcomer was Telepan. Guess what? Telepan, a restaurant I really like by the way, is less than a five minute walk from the Zagat's house. So I find it very hard to believe that Tim and Nina Zagat eating there quite often didn't affect the Best Newcomer ratings and outcome. I have interviewed Tim many times, and we are always cordial and friendly when we see each other at events, but at some point he should fess up that his personal preferences and opinions matter more than other individual Zagat surveyors.

Other Zagat tweaks came from Steve Cuozzo at the Post, who noted the discrepancies between what the Zagat Guide says is the average cost of the meal, and what the meal actually cost. He cited both Gramercy Tavern and Chanterelle as places where the check will most certainly be higher than what the Zagat survey reported.

That said, let's face it, we all love the Zagat Guide for its easy to find addresses and phone numbers, its indices, and its handy shape for throwing it in your jacket pocket. I don't love it for the ratings, which I find woefully out of whack, or the blurbs, which are way too cute and don't really convey much useful information.

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