As 2015 winds down, we are reminded of the rules—or rather, lack thereof—that govern New York City’s maddening restaurant cycle. Because as much as we allege to embrace novelty, we are just as swift to bring down the hammer of judgment. Case in point: the meteoric rise of Tex-Mex and all its refried glory, best exemplified by newcomer Javelina. Initially hailed as the great Yellow Cheese Hope, the restaurant was promptly slammed by the Times as a phony—a classic crash and burn scenario for the genre at large.
But even if we’re unforgiving of certain fads, we’re more than willing to revive others. Rebelle (it’s all in the name, folks) was given the nod for re-writing the script on what it means to be a modern French restaurant. The powerhouse Major Food Group had a rare miss with Santina, but recovered with Sadelle’s, an appetizing King Pin rivaling the majesty of Russ and Daughters. Other all-stars already on the scene pivoted too. David Chang rolled out his Chick-fil-A-inspired Fuku project, giving momentum to a fried chicken craze; Brooks Headley at Superiority Burger subverted the veggie patty stigma; while Sun Noodle Company unveiled Ramen Lab, a world-class slurp shop and living-and-breathing museum. To bring it all together, we present New York’s best new restaurants of 2015.