It and its pals Best Korean, Best Izakaya and Best Food Truck haven't gone anywhere. They're just taking a sabbatical.
We like to think of the Restaurant Awards as an exhaustive (as opposed to exhausting) survey of the dining scene in our fair town. But one of the issues is that, even with a judging panel that ranges between 15 and 20 experts (depending on the year), there's no way that we can cover everything, every year. So a few years ago we—as a group—hit upon the idea of occasionally rotating certain categories out for a year so that we can cover more ground. The reasoning: even Steph Curry doesn't play the entire game. At that juncture, the next step was to zero in on categories that we felt could handle a year on the bench. Last year, one of the possibilities was Best Steakhouse. We looked at the category and saw that the winners hadn't changed much in several years; we also discussed whether any new steakhouses were opening that were likely to disrupt the category. After looking at both questions, we decided it could take a well needed rest (it's back this year, mind you). This year, when we went through the same process to determine categories, we zeroed in on a few—Best Vegetarian, Best Korean, Best Izakaya, Best Food Truck—that we felt could rest for a year before coming back. Like Best Steakhouse or Best Pizza did last year. It's a tough choice (a solid chunk of the VM editorial team is vegetarian so there's a vested interest in these parts). Best Vegetarian was particularly tricky because it's a cuisine that has become one of the pillars upon which our food scene in based. So it was a difficult decision, but ultimately, we decided it was a category that with a year off would arguably come back stronger and more dynamic. Ditto the rest of the categories. Perfect? Probably not. Reasonable? We hope so (and hope you think so to).