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| Columns |

Zagat 2011 Looks Like Zagat 2009

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It's something of an annual foodie rite to take issue with individual rating choices upon release of each new issue of Zagat. Considering how wide a net is cast, and how many individuals weigh in, the numbers in this years Miami/So. Florida guide appear to me to read closer than anyone could hope. Sure, one might argue that Michael's Genuine and Hakkasan (26 each) serve finer fare than Romeo's or Joe's Stone Crab (27 each). Or that Bourbon Steak and Escopazzo (25 each) deserve to hopscotch over The Cheese Course (26). Still, as I say, overall the rankings seem to add up (and in case you're wondering, the magnificent Palme d'Or ranked highest in food with 28).

What doesn't make sense is the lack of ratings on just about every single dining establishment that opened in 2010 -- as well as omissions of many 2009 restaurants, such as Naoe, which debuted in March of that year. Last month, Naoe earned 4 stars from Forbes Travel Guide (formerly Mobil Travel Guide), ranking it as one of the top three Japanese restaurants in America.

The problem is no doubt due to what must be a very long lead time between compiling and publishing. But the roster of unrated restaurants ranges from Burger & Beer Joint (opened Oct., 2009) to Gigi, Eos (May 2009) to Sakaya Kitchen, Sugarcane to Zuma...

Also unrated (although most are listed): Caviar Kaspia (April, 2009); Charlotte Bistro (Aug., 2009); De Rodriguez Cuba (and, understandably, brand new De-Rod Ocean too); Essensia; The Forge; Gibraltar (Dec. 2009 and already on its second chef); Il Grissino; Lou's Beer Garden; Mandolin Aegean Bistro; Mercadito; Morgan's; Mr. Chow (Aug., 2009); Neomi's Grill; Norman's 180; Q and Fin (too late Doctor Zagat, the pulses are gone on these); Pizza Volante (July, 2009); Rack's Italian Kitchen (May, 2009); Shake Shack; Solea (July, 2009, and on second chef); Talavera (Nov, 2009); Villa by Barton G (also on second chef -- same person as Gibraltar's first); and the Water Club.

On the bright side: Pretty impressive list of restaurants that have opened in the Miami area over the past two years!

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