New York Magazine has just published its 101 Best Cheap Eats in NYC. Like NY Mag's Top 101 restaurants, it is a brilliant marketing move by Adam Moss & Co. Full disclosure: I know and like NY Mag cheap eats writers Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld. We frequently chat at parties, but have never broken bread together.
What I love about these kinds of lists are the arguments that inevitably ensue about who was left out and the rankings themselves. The rankings are totally arbitrary and are there solely to spark conversation. What regular folks can quarrel with is what places made the list and what places didn't. And that's where I have quite a few problems with Rob and Robin's list.
For example, how their list could be compiled without either Celeste or Bianca being on it is unfathomable to me. I have eaten at Celeste three times in the last month, and I defy anyone to tell me a better cheap Italian restaurant in NY. Entrees are $13-15 for cryin' out loud, as my dad would have said.
Let's move to Chinese food. Grand Szechuan Eastern is clearly one of the best Sichuan restaurants in this country, and yet it's nowhere to be found on NY Mag's list.
I'll have more to say in other posts, but I love these lists and being able to argue about them.