Best outrageously good organic (2008)
Counter styles itself as organic and vegetarian, but brilliantly avoids the stereotypes associated with both. Rather than being dense and dank and dopey with oat groats, the food is light and flavorful, taking its cue from various European and Mediterranean cuisines. The potato-almond gnocchi kissed with butter and sage is the best gnocchi I've had all year, while a novel terrine of lentils and brown rice led me to reconsider the utility of both of those earthy and difficult-to-manage ingredients. Finally, there's the brilliant cassoulet—in French restaurants it's often grease-sodden and inedible, making Counter's version an admirable advance in culinary praxis.