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It's a Culinary Yearbook
...and David Chang of Momofuku has won most popular!

Grubstreet has presented the Grub Report ‘09, in which critics have weighed in on the summers top chefs, worst trends and culinary capitals.

Three most important chefs in the U.S. today:
1. David Chang (Momofuku)
2. Mario Batali (the Spotted Pig, John Dory)
3. Grant Achatz (Alinea located in Chicago)

Kate Krader of Food & Wine Magazine: “Dave Chang is to most chefs in America as excellent heroin is to Capri Sun juice boxes.”

Most important restaurant city in the country right now:
New York

Bret Thorn of the Nation's Restaurant News explains, “New York is still the center of the culinary universe, although I wish New Yorkers would remember that it’s not the only place in the universe, and I don’t understand why it’s so hard to find a good biscuit here.”

Most overrated chef cooking today:

David Chang (though the nicer reviewers declined to answer this question)

Adam Platt, NYMag restaurant critic (and not one of the nicer reviewers) states, “You'd have to say Chang, and I think he'd agree. His food is great, but there are all sorts of chefs around who are technically superior.”

Regina Schrambling of Gastropedia: “I hate to pick on Mario Batali, but it seems as if he's where Emeril was ten years ago: The shtick has overtaken what kitchen brilliance he had.”

Current trend that is least deserving of the hype:

Among the top offenders were chalkboard menus and the recent burger craze, while cupcakes, beer pairings, and those annoying restaurants with no phone numbers for reservations got honorable mentions.

The last restaurant to which you voluntarily returned:
Adam Platt: “Num Pang Sandwich Shop, on 12th Street between University Place and Fifth, for the lunchtime five-spice glazed-pork-belly special (garnished with crunchy pickled rhubarb).”
*some good news for readers who just got a craving for pork belly- Num Pang Sandwich Shop’s entire menu is under $10.

The fine dining rebound:
…may not occur, according to Tony Bourdain. “They don't need the bullshit anymore. So why complicate their lives? I mean ... who likes dealing with expensive linens and crystal?”

Adam Platt: “As the money comes back, this snooty, pared-down, back-to-nature style will continue to flourish, dominate, and then, like everything else under the sun, it will crash under its own weight.”

The next big ethnic food:

Indian and authentic regional Mexican

And perhaps the most useful part of this article for all you broke college students, the best thing you've eaten this year for less than $10:

Sandwiches at Num Pang
Signature baogette at Pho Sure
Gray's Papaya Recession Special
A slice of pizza bianco from Sullivan Street Bakery
A slice at Sal & Carmine's
A mini-bagel with scallion cream cheese at Absolute Bagels
Hamburger at White Manna in Hackensack
Greek spreads for two at Kefi Special
bánh mì at Fatty Crab
Clam pizza at Veloce Pizza
Macaroni and cheese at the Smith
Coffee-caramel ice-cream sundae with brownies, candied pecans, and chocolate sauce at DBGB
Sunflower shoots from Evolutionary Organics at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket