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Best Restaurants 2014

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10-01 Food & Drink

The essential order is a heaping plate of fried chicken, piping hot and crunchy atop a mound of mashed potatoes doused in mushroom-studded gravy.

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Black Market

Daily chalkboard specials, such as lamb-neck pappardelle, show chef Micah Frank’s drive to innovate, but we will never tire of his fried perch, his tangy-sweet duck buns, or his apple-brined pork chop.

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The revolving menu of complex dishes, such as the thin slivers of lamb tongue fanned out amid dollops of tart ricotta tzatziki, remains the city’s most inspired source for quirky gourmet.

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In a hotel with eye-popping art installations such as a flock of birds carved out of old LPs and a portrait of Madam Walker made from combs, the dishes at this restaurant are the real attraction.

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Diners in their funkiest casual wear dig into executive chef Miguel Cordero’s already-legendary dishes, such as deeply savory duck sopes, chorizo-rich queso fundido, and slow-braised short ribs.

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The restaurant might have gotten serious about the food, but eating it—in a dining room that looks like Alice in Wonderland’s SoHo loft—is still seriously fun.

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Indigo Duck

With new chef Ryan Kernodle in charge of the food, the kitchen continues to crank out delightfully elaborate dishes that are worth discovering over and over again.

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Late Harvest Kitchen

Chef Ryan Nelson’s protein-and-starch–heavy plates leave you writing them into your dying wishes as the last meal you want to partake of on Earth.

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Libertine Liquor Bar

Chef Paul Haveck’s ability to interpret otherwise intimidating dishes, like Southern-fried sweetbreads and roasted bone marrow, into table favorites keeps us coming back.

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The Local Eatery & Pub

On any weeknight, you might see a family huddling over plates of braised beef cheeks, a mom feeding hummus to her toddler, or a child munching happily on the remnants of her father’s duck wings.

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The Loft at Traders Point Creamery

If the farm-to-fork restaurant wanted to coast on the grounds’ pastoral allure, it would probably do just fine. Fortunately, chef Brandon Canfield gives the kitchen the respect it deserves.

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Meridian Restaurant & Bar

The glorious excess of dishes served amid the log walls and votive candelabra of Meridian-Kessler’s showpiece restaurant have a flair for the dramatic. But the flavors steal every scene.

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At the Meridian-Kessler location, an intimate, dimly lit, dining room is built around an exposed hearth oven, and the pizza gods shine a heavenly spotlight on executive chef Tyler Herald as he puts on a master class in pizza perfection.

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Oakleys Bistro

The bric-a-brac–heavy country French decor may want for a makeover, but this date-night and anniversary draw offers the consistent comfort of an old friend’s house.

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The Oceanaire Seafood Room

Showstoppers among the ultra-fresh fish include Maine scallops, striped bass, and grouper. Fresh oysters are a must.