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Zagat: A 'Taste Tour' Of 2013

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Zagat editor James Mulcahy went on a "taste tour," so to speak, of 2013, looking back at the top trends, culinary highlights and delicious dishes from this past year. He filed the following report.

Business was booming this year, and our survey covered 111 new openings, compared to only 42 closings.

Since tables were full, some of New York City's most important chefs opened second restaurants, with Wylie Dufresne debuting Alder earlier this year and Danny Bowien launching Mission Cantina this winter.

"For quite some time, I've had the idea of wanting to take the knowledge we've acquired at WD-50 and bring them here and deliver them in a simpler, more accessible cuisine," Dufresne said.

The hottest culinary zip codes this year were in Brooklyn. Our latest restaurant survey covered 265 eateries in the borough, compared to 127 10 years ago. This includes Manhattan transplant Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, which opened a location in Park Slope.

In Williamsburg, the big story was fine dining chef Paul Liebrandt opening The Elm, an ambitious restaurant that goes far beyond the burgers and beers that have become familiar in this neighborhood.

"We’re very excited to be here in Williamsburg," Liebrandt said. "Restaurants out here are vibrant, fun, very cutting edge."

But the story of the year had to be all the hybrid foods. Zucker Bakery put turkey into donuts for the holidays, and Keizo Schimamoto had hundreds of people lining up at Smorgasburg to try his ramen burger.

Speaking of lines, the streets outside of the Dominique Ansel Bakery will never be the same after the debut of this year's hottest food item: the cronut.

"We just put it on the menu one day just to change one of our new items, and it went viral in a day, and people went crazy for it," said Dominique Ansel, the chef and owner at Dominique Ansel Bakery.

We'll be back next year to see what New York City diners are lining up for in 2014.

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