Tim Zagat talks restaurants
Tim Zagat is the creator of Zagat Survey.
As a rule, Tim Zagat, founder of Zagat Survey will not divulge his favorite restaurants. He leaves that to the reviewers.
But we asked Zagat to give us some of his honest opinions on those that rank highest in his book, the citys restaurant bible.
Top deli: Barney Greengrass
541 Amsterdam Ave., btwn 86th and 87th sts., 212-724-4707
Its a wonderful place to get Jewish soul food, said Zagat. Its like theyve been pouring brine over the floors for 100 years. Its a favorite overall on the West Side, he said.
Top pizza: Lucali
575 Henry St., btwn Carroll St and 1st Pl., Brooklyn,718-858-4086
Zagat admits that hes never been there, but has heard the square, thin-crust pizza is great. One of his absolute favorites is Patsys pizza [in East Harlem], which he grabs every time hes on his way to his country house in Duchess Country. Its thin crust and its very well toasted, he said. But, he added, nothing divides people like their taste in pizza.Top seafood: Le Bernardin
155 W. 51st St., btwn Sixth and Seventh aves., 212-554-1515
Zagat described this French restaurant as elegant to the nth degree French seafood, done by one of the best chefs in America, referring to Eric Ripert. Zagat also pointed out that very different places, like Milos and Pearl Oyster Bar, often rank second and third. Theres a lot of really good Greek seafood in the city, he said.
Top steakhouse: Peter Luger
178 Broadway, Brooklyn, 718-387-7400
I think we should give them the award in perpetuity, said Zagat, mentioning that this Williamsburg landmark has ranked No. 1 for more than 20 years. Theres no one else whos even close. Year after year theyre running away with it, he said.
Top Italian: Babbo
110 Waverly Pl.,btwn MacDougal St and Sixth Ave., 212-777-0303
For years, the top Italian honors belonged to Il Mulino, but for the past several years its been Babbo. Between Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, they are producing brilliant food, he said. But in the classic style of the Zagat guide, Zagat mentioned one drawback too: Its so popular that it can be hard to get in, he said.
According to Tim
Tim Zagats outlook on the restaurant climate is more positive than many media reports have shown.
You may become more selective on the menu and you may go to less expensive restaurants, he said, but we all have to eat.
Zagat contends that theres a huge value in going out to eat. The vast majority of New York City restaurants are BATH(Better Alternative To Home) restaurants. Over 500 restaurants in Zagat are less than $25 for dinner. Thats less than you can make it for, especially when you take into account the time it takes you to prepare and clean up, he said.
Zagat said hes been through three recessions, and found that generally there are more openings than closings.
Now, he said, is actually a good time to be in the business. Were in a restaurant revolution in America, Zagat said. He cited tax laws that favor eating out(business-related meals can be expensed), white collar jobs that pay their employees restaurant meals if they work after 9 p.m. and the largest increase in women in the workforce.