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Zagat Names the Best Sushi Restaurants in the U.S.

Zagat Names the Best Sushi Restaurants in the U.S.

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These restaurants have caught the attention of Zagat despite the fact that some may cost you an arm and a leg

Here's a look at the interesting inside of Morimoto in Philadelphia.

Think your $60 sushi tab is pricey? Think again. Zagat Guide has named their top eight sushi restaurants in the U.S. per request of USA Today, and some will make your wallet cringe just looking at the price of an appetizer.

The cheapest restaurant of them all, where you can get great sushi under $60, is Uchi in Austin, Texas, which serves "incredible fusion plates that make you cry tears of joy," according to Zagat and reviewers. From there the prices climb, but with that comes higher quality.

Katsu Japanese in Chicago is a traditional sushi bar with stuffed rolls, and Boston’s O Ya does “off-the-charts innovative sushi.” Makoto in Washington has patrons take their shoes off at the door because it’s doing sushi the traditional way with an omakase menu, where the chef decides what he wants to serve. Sasabune in New York follows in the same omakase manner, as well as Urasawa in Los Angeles; but at the latter, you’re going to have to pay up, because the average price is nearly $500 per person.

Zagat aimed to give readers an idea of what the average price per person at each place is, and their standard is the average price of dinner plus a drink and tip. Uchi in Austin is $56, Katsu in Chicago is $57, Morimoto in Philadelphia is $74, Makoto in D.C. is $78, Kiss Seafood in San Francisco is $83, Sasabune in New York is $113, O Ya in Boston is $118, and Urasawa in LA is $488.

Choosing Fish and Seafood for Sushi or Sashimi

Nearly every fish or other sea critter is edible, but not every one of them is edible raw. Raw fish has been in fashion in the West for some time, but sushi and sashimi have been part of Japanese cuisine for centuries. When making either at home, it's best to follow their lead so you know which fish you can safely eat raw.

Rating Zagat

They're the nation's best-selling restaurant guides. but can you trust them? To uncover the truth, a restaurant critic crossed the country on an eight-city eating tour&mdashand found much that was hard to swallow.

Where shall we eat tonight? If that&aposs not the burning question of our time, it is surely one that torments those who want to win at the restaurant game. Where, then, can one turn for reliable, independent and authoritative advice? Where else, one might ask, but the nation&aposs most popular guides, the Zagat surveys?

Between iconic wine-dark covers emblazoned with bold white type, each Zagat survey lists hundreds of restaurants, all rated on food, decor and service by a supposedly impartial and knowing public rather than by professional critics. The guides are nothing if not handy, with concise codes telling readers everything they need to know about a restaurant, except what to order. As the publishers do not reimburse their respondents for meals (although they do compensate each one with a copy of the final work), they can review more establishments than would be humanly or financially feasible for one person, or even one periodical. In last year&aposs survey of New York City, 20,424 people rated nearly 2,000 places.

That unrivaled scope, and the democratic voting system, have earned the Zagat surveys many encomiums. According to its back-cover blurbs, the guide has been dubbed "the gastronomic bible" by the Wall Street Journal, "indispensable" by the Los Angeles Times and "the single best source of accurate dining information" by the Washington Post, which apparently doesn&apost mind undercutting its own critics. In this culture of celebrity, it is no surprise to find additional endorsements from Bill Cosby ("I love good food. That&aposs why I love Zagat") and Andrew Lloyd Webber ("Obliterates the need for any other guide").

In fact, with their huge sales, the Zagat surveys have just about obliterated all other guides. Last year, true believers bought about 650,000 copies of the New York City volume alone. Tim and Nina Zagat, the founders and cochairs of Zagat Survey LLC, currently publish 45 city and regional guides covering the U.S., Toronto, Vancouver, London, Paris and Tokyo, plus separate reports on shops, hotels and nightspots. Now, backed by $31 million from assorted investors, the Zagats are preparing a major expansion of their Internet services and possibly even an initial public offering. That&aposs a long way from the hobby that began in 1979 when the Zagats, as young lawyers living in Paris, mimeographed sheets of their friends&apos restaurant suggestions.

But what&aposs missing from all these thousands of ratings is the most crucial evaluation of all: How well do the guides really work? If you took their advice, trusting that high scores for food at a given restaurant would translate into great meals, how would you fare? To find out, I recently toured eight cities, eating at the restaurant singled out by Zagat as having the best food in town. These top-rated establishments were Le Bernardin in New York L&aposEspalier in Boston the French Laundry in the Napa Valley (first place in the San Francisco guide) the French Room in Dallas the Inn at Little Washington in Virginia (the winner in Washington, D.C., and the only restaurant at which I felt I had been recognized) Matsuhisa in Beverly Hills André&aposs in Las Vegas and Norman&aposs in Coral Gables, Florida (the Miami champion)—the last two being the only ones I had never covered before in my 35 years of restaurant reviewing. To gain perspective on the local food scenes, I also ate at many of the runners-up.

In a couple of instances, the survey&aposs top choice was on the money, nowhere more so than at THE FRENCH LAUNDRY in Yountville, California. That&aposs fortunate, considering the maddening obstacles to making a reservation, a feat so difficult that had this not been a work project, I would have given up, thinking no meal quite worth it. But if any were, this would be it. Although Thomas Keller, the celebrated chef and owner, was away, the kitchen turned out his inventive dishes exquisitely.

Keller&aposs food is surprising but never unnervingly over-the-top. His soigné inventions seemed predestined: a gratin of oysters with sweet-sour Meyer lemon and caviar toasted brioche sandwiching soft-shell crab and tomato confit roasted saddle of lamb with a polenta cake and artichokes and seared duck breast with a counterpoint of bittersweet endive marmalade. A plate of cheese that included strong and runny époisses with brandied prunes led to Keller dessert classics such as "coffee and doughnuts"𠅌innamon-and-sugar-dusted mini-doughnuts with silky cappuccino semifreddo𠅊nd a refreshing Alsatian rhubarb tart with creamy mascarpone sorbet.

I was curious to visit the top-rated NORMAN&aposS in Coral Gables, where Norman Van Aken is the chef much as I admired Van Aken when he was cooking at A Mano in South Beach a decade ago, I feared that his florid inventiveness might by now have gone too far. But magically, even improbable-sounding combinations seemed harmonious. The food was lusty but subtle, from lightly fried shrimp with mashed yucca, habanero tartar sauce and Van Aken&aposs famous mojo verde—tomatillo mayonnaise—to Vietnamese vegetarian spring rolls with crunchy jicama and fine noodle filaments. A lemongrass soy sauce perfectly complemented rose-red tuna carpaccio, as did a cumin coating on a succulent rare lamb porterhouse. And cool, satiny café con leche panna cotta with tiny, cinnamon-scented churros was an inspired Latin-Italian fusion.

Because one can quibble endlessly about the relative excellence of New York&aposs best restaurants (and because it is the city I know best), I used a slightly different approach here, visiting the survey&aposs top five picks in an attempt to determine only whether each deserved to be among the elite. I would not, for instance, rank LE BERNARDIN, CHANTERELLE and NOBU first, second and third, as Zagat does, awarding each 28 points out of a possible 30. Still, all three are remarkable enough that the choices are understandable. But when I scanned Zagat&aposs list of the runners-up, plausibility flew out the window.

The really incredible designations are the fourth-rank status of SUGIYAMA, with its esoteric Japanese cuisine, and the fifth-rank showing of PETER LUGER steak house. This places both restaurants above the consistently excellent and far more ambitious Jean Georges and Daniel, both with 28 points, and Lespinasse, La Grenouille, Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Tavern, all with 27. Sugiyama, which serves a formalized progression of courses that can include steak on a hot stone, sushi and creative small dishes, does all of them very well but excels at nothing. And at Peter Luger, I had very good lamb chops and steak, but also encountered unripe tomatoes, tasteless shrimp left too long on ice, burned German-fried potatoes, a brassy steak sauce, and creamed spinach that would make even Gerber wince. One can only surmise that the 28 rating applies to the meat alone.

The appearance of a French restaurant at the head of the New York list is repeated in Zagat guides across the country. Of the top-rated restaurants I visited, five are French, and a sixth—the Inn at Little Washington—is certainly French informed. Apparently, reports of the demise of haute cuisine are greatly exaggerated. Also surprising is that despite all we hear about Italian cuisine and its regional splendors, only four Italian places are ranked first for food in the 40 areas covered in the 2001 edition of Zagat&aposs nationwide guide, America&aposs Top Restaurants. Perhaps an unsure public still feels more confident in declaring for the French kitchen.

Because almost all of the restaurants with the highest ratings for food are extremely fancy looking and expensive, I had to wonder if amateur critics are capable of separating the cooking from the surroundings. Would they rate the same dishes as highly if they were served in a simpler setting? And do they perhaps feel the need to reassure themselves, as they&aposre paying a check that tops $200, that the meal they&aposve just eaten was superb?

A perfect case in point is THE FRENCH ROOM in Dallas, a gilded Versailles wanna-be with green marble floors, gold-leaf trim, murals of flying cherubs and trompe l&aposoeil clouds. The overly ambitious kitchen sends forth such misguided creations as quail filled with roasted red peppers and Parmesan cheese wrapped in bacon and served with caramelized endive polenta on a balsamic red-currant sauce. I have heard postmodernism in architecture described as the illiterate application of symbols, and so it is with this dish. Inventions require more artistry than this kitchen exhibited with a tough lobster tail that was not helped by wild mushrooms or soupy, "sorrel-infused" risotto. Nor did a metallic lemongrass sauce do much for a badly overcooked crab cake. Zagat&aposs capsule review describing the menu as "classic" is simply bizarre, although the best offering, a delicious rare-roasted rack of lamb, hints that traditional efforts might be better rewarded.

The French Room&aposs top ranking raises other questions. For one, how valid is local opinion for the visitor? A Dallas native might consider French food more suitable for a special occasion than the regional cuisine. But a visitor would (or should) prefer the stunning Southwestern specialties at the third-ranked Mansion on Turtle Creek. I would rather dine there four nights in a week than at either the French Room or the Riviera, whose innocuous French food is Zagat&aposs second choice. But then, I&aposm a stranger here myself.

Like the kitsch-laden interior at the French Room, the dining rooms of L&aposESPALIER in Boston, laid out on two floors of a Victorian-Edwardian town house, provide the kind of grandiose setting that Zagat respondents seem to crave. About 10 years ago, I considered the food here to be as excellent as it was diverting, but now the kitchen seems to be overreaching. Most dishes were disappointingly bland, including a giveaway appetizer of shrimp in a seaweed gel with overly chilled cucumbers, a technically correct game-bird pâté, overcooked day-boat halibut saut under a mush of crushed sunflower seeds, and a nicely juicy squab obscured by a heavy sauce and a starchy taro-and-parsnip cake. As for lavender-perfumed mashed potatoes, think of eating potpourri. Among better choices were the assiette of lamb and the black sesame-flecked fried soft-shell crabs.

As I made my rounds, I began to wonder what role sentiment plays in the Zagat ratings of restaurants that have been the scene of so many family milestone dinners over the years. Can it be that the food is highly seasoned with nostalgia? That, plus a certain local resentment toward celebrated interlopers, must be at work in Las Vegas. The level of cooking in the city has risen dramatically over the past few years, but the people&aposs choice is still ANDRÉ&aposS, for 21 years a fixture in the deserted old downtown residential neighborhood. This local icon is a funky anachronism with an "old auberge" look�rk wood beams, china bric-a-brac and lace curtains and tablecloths. The more traditional French food is pleasant in a gentle way, as with a saut fillet of sole véronique complete with green grapes (itself something of an anachronism, albeit well prepared), a nicely garlicked rack of lamb, a honey-roasted breast of duck and a Grand Marnier soufflé. But everything else failed, including a canapé of some duckish mousse on crumbly, dry croutons and a dreadful version of the old-time banquet cliché of sweetbreads in a patty shell, here with pea-size chicken quenelles in a soggy bouchພ.

One might suppose that the opinions in the guides would be reasonably up-to-date since the first instruction on the survey form is "Please rate the restaurants you&aposve visited in the past year." But compliance with this request relies strictly on the honor system. Perhaps the weakest link in the Zagat method is that respondents are not asked to supply any proof as to when—if ever—they visited the restaurants they voted on. Zagat could request photocopies of receipts even requiring those surveyed to write in the approximate date of their last visit would dampen the impulse to fill out the form willy-nilly, whether the responses are based on recent experience, fond memories or, perhaps, imaginings. Any such tactic, though, might discourage people from taking part in the survey. (Tim and Nina Zagat were not interviewed for this article, but they did respond in writing to several issues, including this one. They said they believe the "overwhelming majority" of those surveyed follow the questionnaire&aposs instructions, and added, "In any event, with thousands of surveyors, we always have people visiting each restaurant up to the last minute. And our local editors, who are active food writers, have current knowledge of the restaurants surveyed.")

THE INN AT LITTLE WASHINGTON, in the Washington, D.C., area, has won the top Zagat rating for food every year since 1995 if, as I believe, the kitchen&aposs performance has slipped a few notches in that time, the survey doesn&apost reflect it. I find the gussied-up Victorian-Edwardian decor stifling but had always felt it was more than made up for by the subtlety of the food. Not so on this latest visit. In his magnificently outfitted kitchen, Patrick O&aposConnell relies too heavily on fruit, whether in the apple coulis that overly sweetens bland boudin blanc, or the tropical fruit mix compromising lovely crabmeat, or the hot pineapple with duck that is said to be cooked "thrice," meaning overcooked to a fare-thee-well. Apple cider sauce ruined the flavor of braised rabbit, but tart pickled cranberries perfectly complemented delicious, pepper-encrusted venison. O&aposConnell&aposs obvious sweet tooth serves him well with desserts, judging by the luscious liquid Valrhona chocolate cake and the crunchy marjolaine with its hints of hazelnuts and chocolate. The cookies were good too.

Another restaurant that seems to be sliding is the number one choice in Los Angeles, MATSUHISA. When it opened in 1987, it was indeed a stunner, as Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, the affable Japanese sushi chef, who has spent time in Peru, Argentina and elsewhere in South America, created his own brand of fusion cuisine. But as he now divides his attention among his seven Nobu outposts around the world (including the one in New York), Matsuhisa has suffered. Baby eggplants with miso, cold soba noodles and the marinated yellowtail with slivers of jalapeños were all delicious. But many of the fusion specialties were oversalted and obscured by heavy brown sauces, especially overpowering when pitted against delicate tuna in a sashimi salad. Others, such as the Kobe beef with vegetables and the squid "pasta," suggested stir-fried Chinese takeout. Even the usually silken, signature black cod with miso arrived dry and shriveled, and the tempura was third-rate, soggy and floury. The colorful crowd, the helpful staff and the more inviting dishes would draw me back, but the indifferent preparations hardly justify the top rating.

Other writers have said that Zagat scores are self-fulfilling prophecies, a phenomenon William Grimes of the New York Times has called "the Zagat Effect." Grimes suggests that diners who go to highly rated restaurants, "convinced that they are eating at a top-flight establishment, cannot bring themselves to believe otherwise."

Because stories abound of restaurateurs trembling when Tim and Nina Zagat appear at the door, one has to ask whether they or their editors exert undue influence on their books. What does it mean, for example, when a humble score of 19 for food at Guastavino in the 2001 New York City guide prompts the editors to point out that the restaurant complex includes a more formal dining room "whose high quality is not adequately reflected by our ratings"? Says who? The Zagats reply that the editors made this statement because it was clear from survey comments that some people "had confused Guastavino&aposs informal downstairs brasserie with its upstairs fine-dining restaurant." Then there is the matter of which places get into the guide. Last fall, publication of the Boston survey had to be delayed after a local critic noticed that one restaurant was described in the galleys as if it were already open when, in fact, it wasn&apost.

All of which says nothing about two phenomena that would seem to be beyond the publisher&aposs control. Several restaurateurs have told me about visits from rogue respondents who announce themselves as survey participants in hopes of getting special food and service, if not a free meal. (The Zagats respond, "If anyone should be so crass as to act that way, we hope the restaurant would ignore him or her, just as they would any other patron who. drops a name in hopes of getting a good table.") Some restaurateurs, for their part, have enlisted friends, relatives, staff and clientele to stuff the ballot box. Although Tim Zagat says he has a system for detecting such a ploy, doing so seems virtually impossible. Such engineered responses obviously could result in huge profits for the restaurateurs and a disappointing waste of money for the customer.

These glitches aside, the Zagat surveys stand or fall on their central premise: that thousands of separate opinions add up to something like the truth. Asked about the reliability of their guides, the Zagats answered, "We argue. that our numerical ratings and our consumer-based reviews are more reliable than any individual critic because they draw on the shared experiences of a large cross-section of savvy customers (200,000 this year alone) rather than the personal biases of one, frequently recognized, professional critic. [T]he enormous sales success of our books and the steady increase in the number of our participating surveyors year after year suggest that restaurant-goers do find our method to be a reliable basis for rating restaurants, which is a good enough measure for us."

Having always distrusted consensus, I feel the system of relying on a vast public rather than professional critics has no more validity in assessing restaurants than it would if applied to art or theater. The majority can be wrong, and one well-informed opinion is worth more than those of a thousand amateurs. Popular success is not a measure of excellence. If it were, it would mean that McDonald&aposs serves the world&aposs best hamburgers, KFC makes perfect fried chicken, Pizza Hut is the envy of Naples and, come to think of it, that the Zagat Survey is our best restaurant guide.

Mimi Sheraton was the New York Times restaurant critic from 1976 to 1984. She has written for Time and Vanity Fair.

Inari sushi with Tuna About Inari Sushi For more information about what Inari is, and where to get it, check the following article: what is Inari. Ingredients: Yield: 16 pieces.

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We Tried It: A Secret Sushi Restaurant Hidden in an NYC Hotel Room

Eating in a hotel room isn’t a new thing. Anyone who has been on a business trip has probably experienced the joy of room service: Eating steak and red wine in bed while wrapped in a bathrobe, watching TV. (Or wait, is that just me?) But actually getting up to go out to eat at a restaurant that’s in a hotel room you’re not staying in, is a whole other thing.

Opened in December 2018, Sushi by Bou at Hotel 3232 is the latest offshoot of Sushi by Bou, the Japanese omakase restaurant that got its start in NYC’s Ganesvoort Market, known for its quick and inexpensive sushi service. For those unfamiliar with the term, omakase literally means, “Respectfully leaving another to decide what’s best.” It’s a tasting menu where all the decisions are left to the chef, who showcases not only the fish but his or her talents in preparing plates that are delicious and beautiful.

I arrived at the front desk of Midtown’s Hotel 3232 with a friend, stating “Sushi by Bou” as my reservation/check in name. Like any other hotel guest, we were handed a key card and given directions to the room. In the short time it took to ride the elevator and step into the corridor of the 10th floor, my imagination soared with every weird hotel story I could think of: Would the twins from "The Shining" invite me to play? Isn’t going into a strange hotel room exactly the sort of thing you’re not supposed to do? Did we tell anyone else where we were going tonight?

I waved the key card in front of the sensor and my friend and I took a deep breaths and opened the door. All of our worries vanished when we were greeted by a kind hostess. She welcomed us into a cozy space, which was set up like a small lounge. Dim, minimalist, and modern with some Asian-inspired touches, the space was a true NYC hotel room (read: TINY) retro-fitted into a miniature restaurant. A small seating area with a loveseat, two chairs, and a low table were the focal point. This furniture was a few feet from a 4-seat sushi bar that was off to the side of the room (no beds or Dexter-like drop cloths in sight!) I thought there might be more space around a corner, but I realized it was just a door to the bathroom -- no different than any other hotel washroom, except the shower was covered up. The prep mostly happened in the modest space behind the bar where watching the sushi chef do his thing was part of the experience.

In a reversal of the usual restaurant flow, we had drinks in by the table while we waited to eat at the bar (seating happens every hour from 5-10pm). If you’re feeling claustrophobic (though there’s really no need, this is one small space where the NYC real estate term 𠇌ozy” speaks the truth), there’s a 25 seat outdoor terrace as well. The pace was peaceful, and I have to say it was nice to be at a place where a conversation could happen without outside competition from chatter and blaring music. We even started to converse with the other pair of dining companions that would round out our 8pm seating.

St. Regis Brasserie

For expert French cuisine in Istanbul, look no further than St. Regis Brasserie. Housed in the luxury St. Regis Istanbul hotel, the intimate restaurant comprises both indoor and outdoor dining areas with elegant accents like oak, brass and onyx. The fare is seasonal, including contemporary, French-inspired dishes with a Turkish touch. An expansive menu includes a variety of salads, handcrafted pasta and sandwiches among appetizers and main courses. Try the St. Regis Brasserie meatballs or pan-fried black bream with a signature Bloody Mary from the cocktail menu. Be sure to leave room for dessert – the restaurant offers raspberry cake, rice pudding, tiramisu and mascarpone cheese cake.

The Zagat Guide Is Back in Print

After a three-year absence, the New York City survey will return on Tuesday with the same cover and pocket-size dimensions.

It’s been three years, but that familiar maroon book is back. The 2020 Zagat survey of New York City restaurants will go on sale on Tuesday.

The new 352-page book retains the same cover and pocket-size dimensions of the original. The three most popular restaurants — that is, the places the surveyors named their favorites: Le Bernardin, Gramercy Tavern and Peter Luger Steak House — were also the same as in the 2017 guide.

Le Bernardin, Daniel and Bouley at Home led the list of top restaurants for food, followed by Sushi Nakazawa, Gabriel Kreuther, Decoy, Lucali, Eleven Madison Park, 4 Charles Prime Rib and Via Carota.

Majorelle displaced Asiate as No. 1 on the best décor list. Le Bernardin slipped to second place after Daniel on the best-service list. (Eleven Madison Park came in third.)

Tim and Nina Zagat, both lawyers and food lovers, began publishing the guide, with ratings based on the opinions of people who complete a questionnaire, 40 years ago. In 2011, after having expanded worldwide, they sold it to Google for $151 million. Google maintained it for several years, made some changes and then stopped publishing the guides in 2016. The Infatuation bought the brand last year.

“We heard from so many people pleading for us to bring back the printed guide,” said Chris Stang, a founder and the chief executive of the Infatuation, an online guide and ratings platform.

For this latest guide, the Infatuation consulted the Zagats, and restored the rating system, calculated on a total of 30, that they used for decades. Comments for the restaurants tend to be positive, with quotes like “it’s convenient” balancing terms like “merely decent” and “mediocre” for low-rated places like Sardi’s and Jue Lan Club. About 12,000 people participated in voting for this guide.

Only 10 vegetarian and vegan restaurants were listed in the index, compared with 23 in 2017. Hangawi and Kajitsu, both vegetarian, are included in the 2020 survey, yet in what appears to be an oversight, they are not listed as vegetarian in the index.

The new guide has omitted a Best Buys category (sometimes called Bang for the Buck ) because it was felt that people’s views of good value varied too much. A Notable Closings category is also gone.

“Things change very quickly in the city, and there’s stuff in there that’s already out of date,” Mr. Stang said.

It remains to be seen whether print guides will be published for other cities, and an online version of the New York guide is not likely to happen before next summer.

“As it is, you could consider the guide to be like a paper app,” Mr. Stang said.

Zagat 2020 New York City Restaurants will be available Tuesday in bookstores and online for $17.95.

The Zagat restaurant guide will return to Los Angeles this summer

After a six-year hiatus, a version of the Zagat restaurant guide will return to Los Angeles in June. The Infatuation acquired the Zagat brand from Google in 2018.

The guide will be assembled through an online survey of Los Angeles diners that will rate and review any open restaurant, food truck or stand in Los Angeles County. The survey is open to the public and is available now on the Zagat website through March 17.

“We wanted to bring it back to its diner survey roots,” the Infatuation co-founder and chief executive Chris Stang said. “It had sort of become editorially-driven during Google’s tenure and this was an opportunity to bring back the voice of a community of people who are knowledgeable about restaurants.”

The official L.A. Times list of the 101 best restaurants in Los Angeles, curated by our restaurant critics.

The Infatuation Zagat released a New York guide late last year with a refreshed online database and physical guidebook that included 1,400 restaurants. While Stang said the New York guidebook sold well, he’s waiting to gauge the response to the online survey before deciding to publish another physical product for L.A.

For a time, Zagat ratings were ubiquitous, with restaurants displaying their ratings in Zagat’s signature burgundy and white in windows all over the country. The books featured no photos, just blurbs of text cobbled together from readers’ submissions. Its peak influence was the late ’90s and early 2000s. Google bought the guide company for a reported $151 million in 2011 as it was ramping up its local review offerings in 2011.

Stang said he’s trying to keep the spirit of those original Zagat guides alive with the new website, but will modernize it somewhat — the guide will, for instance, include photos of the restaurants.

Restaurant critic Bill Addison pinpoints seven recent reviews, from a carnitas food truck to a tiny Japanese wonder, that illustrate the city’s amazing dining culture.

As in the past, diners will be given an initial list of dozens of restaurants to rate on food, service and decor using the original Zagat 30-point scale. (Google, for a time, changed it to a five-point scale.) Respondents will also be given the option to submit restaurants that are not already listed in the survey. If it looks like a certain area or community is not represented, Stang said, the company will reach out via newsletters, social media and other outlets to solicit more opinions for inclusion.


The Zagat Survey was established by Tim and Nina Zagat in 1979 as a way to collect and correlate the ratings of restaurants by diners. [5] Their first guide covered New York City dining, and was accomplished on the basis of a survey of their friends. [6] By 2005, the Zagat Survey included 70 cities, with reviews based on the input of 250,000 individuals. [7] The Guides, over the years, have reported on and rated restaurants, hotels, nightlife, shopping, zoos, music, movies, theaters, golf courses, and airlines. [7] Zagat guide ratings are on a five-point scale, 5 being the highest and 1 is the lowest, with component ratings for defined areas, e.g., for restaurants, including food, decor, and service (with cost also being estimated). [8] In addition to numeric scores, the survey also includes a short descriptive paragraph that incorporates selected quotations (typically a few words) from several reviewers' comments about each restaurant or service, as well as the pricing and rating information.

In 1999, Tim and Nina Zagat's son, Ted Zagat, joined Zagat and served as president and COO until 2007. [9] [10]

Zagat's distinctive thirty-point rankings were replaced with a five-point scale for products not at the Zagat website, following acquisition by Google in September 2011. [3] In March 2018, Zagat was sold by Google to The Infatuation, a restaurant rating app. [11]

Private equity firm General Atlantic bought one-third of parent company Zagat, LLC, for $31 million in February 2000 and installed non-Zagat family member Amy B. McIntosh as CEO. [12]

In 2008, the company was on the block for $200 million. After there were no takers, the company announced in June that it was no longer for sale and that it would seek an organic growth strategy. [13]

On September 8, 2011, the company was acquired by Google for more than $150 million, the 10th largest acquisition by Google as of that date, at the championing of Marissa Mayer, its Vice President of Local, Maps, and Location Services. [1] [14]

On March 6, 2018, Google sold the company to restaurant discovery platform The Infatuation for an undisclosed amount. [4]

Initial integration Edit

Google is reported to have planned to use the Zagat acquisition to provide more content and reviews for its locally oriented services. [15] [16] [17] On May 30, 2012, Zagat was officially integrated into Google's services, with its reviews now appearing on Google Maps and Google+ Local pages for relevant restaurants. Additionally, the Zagat online service became free to use, and once required a Google+ account to register though that is no longer the case. [18] By July 2013, the Zagat online presence had (alongside its printed Guides, see below) narrowed from thirty cities, to nine – eight in the U.S., as well as London – though earlier content on other cities remains discoverable by outside search. [3] At the same time, Google pushed ahead with plans to "Zagatize the world" through broader simplified business rankings, [14] and by providing broad content unlike the traditional Zagat, both city-specific (e.g., "Great Hot Dog Joints in NYC"), [3] and cross-destination (e.g., "Best Sushi Restaurants in 8 U.S. Cities."), as well as completely location-independent content (e.g., "Rosé for Every Mood: What to Bring to Any Summer Occasion"). [19]

Expansion under Mayer Edit

Initially, however, the eventually proscribed digital and print aims were the subject of an aggressive plan to expand the impact of Zagat through new hard-copy city guides, which required that Google VP Marissa Mayer and a senior product manager Bernardo Hernandez add further editors to the group it acquired with the Zagat acquisition unfortunately, because of leadership changes above Mayer – earlier in 2011, Google cofounder and first CEO, Larry Page, had replaced Eric Schmidt, returning to the helm to again manage the company – the request to increase the number of "Googlers" (full-time Google employees) was denied, and Google's Zagat editorial division was instead grown via staffing with temporary contractors (January–March 2012). [14] During this period, at least some of the hired contractors were led to believe by Google HR that it was their hope that after the year, contractors would join Googlers as permanent employees, with benefits moreover, the experience of contractors during this period is reported to have been that of a normal Google employee (invitations to all-hands Google employee meetings and social events, and receipt of at-work benefits). [14]

Reorganization, departures, Frommer's acquisition Edit

However, as the reorganization by Page continued, and further decisions were made by Google management, the commitment to the Mayer vision for Zagat waned. Page's assignment of Susan Wojcicki to head Google's advertising area led to the move of another Google veteran, Jeff Huber, to lead the very large "Geo and Commerce" area, a new combined group that would eventually include the Zagat team (alongside Google Maps & Earth, Travel, Shopping, Wallet, and other endeavors). [14] This reorganization left Marissa Mayer without a comparable leadership position, instead placing her as a report to her "peer" Huber Mayer departed Google thereafter, to become the CEO of Yahoo! in July 2012. Other management changes were harbingers of a challenging year for this group (e.g., executive firings and departures, including "the entire team that launched Google Wallet"), and Huber eventually moved from managing Geo and Commerce to join the Google X research team. [14]

Mayer's departure as champion of Zagat ' s acquisition and expansion, Huber's challenges in leading the large disparate Geo and Commerce group, and Google management's decision on a further acquisition – Frommer's, the venerable travel guide publisher, in August 2012 [20] – appear, in concert, as evidence of changing plans of management for the original Zagat team. After the standard Google all-hands meeting where the Frommer's acquisition was announced and discussed, contractors ceased to be invited to these Google meetings. [21] In this period, Hernandez continued to lead the Zagat group, where it is reported that Google reorientation of Zagat from their original business model to "'Zagatize' the world. [through] 100,000 ratings for small businesses" resulted in missed editorial production goals and Zagat contractor resentment toward the new Frommer's Googlers they perceived as having been given their positions. [14]

Dissolution of Zagat team Edit

The situation and morale in the Zagat unit is reported to have decayed further when, in December 2012, Google informed the contractors, most former full-time Zagat employees, that their contracts would not be renewed in 2013, only to alter course within days and report renewal of the contracts through the end of June 2013. In this new period, communications between Googlers and Zagat contractors are said to have decayed, with a further end to the social perks they had earlier enjoyed. As well, Bernardo Hernandez departed from his leadership role of the unit. [14]

While Google has declined comment, one source reported in June 2013 that "The future of Zagat book production looks extremely bleak. The whole division as currently structured seems to be on death watch. Lots of chatter about outsourcing." [14] Further reporting coincident with the rollout of the new Zagat website in July 2013 indicated both that the Zagat guides are "now smaller than ever," covering the same reduced list of nine cities as the website, and that Zagat had "quietly w[ound] down its licensing business. managing custom print guides for corporations" and third party content licensing. [3]

Regardless, Google's acquisition and integration of Zagat, while leading to the elimination of the Zagat enterprise as it had historically functioned, provided it "a strong brand in local restaurant recommendations. [and] lots of content for location-based searches." [14] Even so, questions are being raised about the apparent change of course, e.g., regarding Google's steering Zagat and its mobile app toward general content, and away from its traditional reviewer stable into an already very competitive, well-populated everyman restaurant review approach and business niche. [19] In commenting on the contraction in number of cities covered and in depth of print coverage, and on Google de-emphasis of the distinctive, traditional 30-point rankings (replacing it with a 5-point scale for products not at the Zagat website), Jason Clampet at Skift writes, "Whether or not Zagat’s. brand voice will continue to rise to the top remains to be seen," and while "the Zagat brand may not seem as strong [post-Google]. [the] content’s influence on diners and drinkers is arguably stronger than ever, thanks to its deep integration into the world’s most popular. mapping service." [3]

On March 6, 2018, Google transferred ownership of the brand and assets to restaurant review website The Infatuation. They did not disclose the deal amount. [4] The Infatuation CEO and Co-Founder Chris Stang released a statement that the company was "thrilled by this opportunity to acquire such a pioneering and trusted restaurant guide as Zagat. it is the perfect complement to what we have been building at The Infatuation." They will reportedly operate as two distinct brands, with The Infatuation retaining its editorial-first focus and Zagat will expand user surveys and develop a new tech-driven platform. [22] In November, 2019 the print version of the guide was relaunched after a three-year hiatus. [23]

Know the Lingo:

  • Futomaki: a thick roll, usually cut into eight pieces. Specialty rolls are usually futomaki.
  • Hosomaki: thin roll with just one type of filling. Single-ingredient rolls such as salmon, tuna, or cucumber rolls are usually hosomaki.
  • Uramaki: a roll with the nori (seaweed) on the inside and rice on the outside. Sometimes called an inside-out roll.
  • Temaki: Also called a hand roll, this is a cone-shaped nori roll with the ingredients and minimal rice inside.

Seaweed Salad: Seaweed, sesame seeds, spices on top of fresh cucumber
70 calories, 4 g fat (1/2 cup)

Miso Soup: Miso broth with bits of tofu, seaweed and green onions
90 calories, 2 g fat (1 cup)

Salmon or Tuna Tataki: seared fish topped with ponzu (citrus) sauce served over daikon radish
160 calories, 6 g fat (4 ounces)

Shumai: Steamed dumplings filled with meat, seafood or vegetables. 105 calories, 2 g fat (4 dumplings)

Tuna, salmon, shrimp or yellowtail (or any single fish)
175 calories, 2 g fat

Vegetable (or any combo)
135 calories, 0 g fat

Rainbow: Crab, cucumber inside, topped with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, fluke, avocado
476 calories, 16 g fat (Note: This roll is large enough to be a whole meal!)

185 calories, 2 g fat

Philadelphia/Bagel: Smoked salmon, avocado and cream cheese
320 calories, 5 g fat

Spider: Fried soft-shell crab, cucumber, avocado and roe (fish eggs)
510 calories, 21 g fat

Spicy Tuna: Chopped tuna, spicy mayonnaise, and crunchy topping
320 calories, 3 g fat "
(Note: Spicy" rolls are often made with trimmings from other rolls that are mixed with a flavored mayo.)

Eel and Avocado: Grilled eel with sweet and salty "eel" sauce and avocado
370 calories, 17 g fat


Sashimi is slices of raw or lightly cooked fish nigiri is raw fish on mounds of rice. Both are healthy choices sashimi is ideal for those counting carbs.


  1. Bragul

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  2. Mizil

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  3. Taye

    Perhaps, I shall agree with your phrase

  4. Corvin

    Sorry, the message is far away

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