Good story find on Ed Levine calls out Tim Zagat, who’s influential in the NY restaurant world, for the Zagat Guide’s naming Telepan the best newcomer restaurant in NY.   The Zagats live five minutes from the restaurant, according to Levine, a respected NY food writer, and it would not be unreasonable to presume that they’re regulars (Telepan is indeed highly regarded).  If the Zagats’ personal patronage of the restaurant played a part in the decision, this would be significant information.

But what if Telepan is, in fact, definitively, the best new restaurant in NY?  Should it be denied consideration simply because the Zagats live nearby?  Or even go there all the time?

Regardless, the Zagat guide is influential enough that the owners ought to offer a forthright description of the influence of their personal opinions on a guide that bills itself as a survey of restaurant goers.  Levine puts it more directly: “at some point he should fess up that his personal preferences and opinions matter more than other individual Zagat surveyors.”

I agree—this is a good call.

Update: Tim Zagat wastes no time in responding.

And meg noted they’re taking heat from the NY Post as well.