New Zagat: Meyer Tops Meyer, Diners Hail Health Department, Brooklyn Earns a Map, Graydon Who?

The results of the latest Zagat Survey of New York restaurants are in, with input from a record 34,678 diners, and respondents have issued a resounding mandate to the city’s Health Department: Stay the course!

Asked “Do you think the recent temporary shuttering of some NYC restaurants for health violations is…?” only 15 percent answered “[a]n overreaction,” while a whopping 65 percent said “[w]arranted.” (Another 20 percent were undecided.)

The overwhelming support for the continuing Health Department crackdown on the city’s food-service sector comes on the heels of last month’s New York Post report, which found that city health inspectors had flunked 25 percent of all 28,955 eateries they inspected during fiscal year 2007.

Other findings from the brand-spanking new Zagat 2008 New York City Restaurants guide:

- Only Danny Meyer Can Top Danny Meyer: For the first time in four years, Gramercy Tavern has been dethroned as Manhattan’s most popular restaurant. The new king? Sister spot Union Square Café. Daniel, meanwhile, has unseated Le Bernardin as the top spot for food.

- Brooklyn Booming, Dom DeMarco Soaring: Despite increasing criticism, Peter Luger remains the city’s top steakhouse for the 24th consecutive year. Long the lone Brooklyn eatery among Zagat’s Top 20, the Williamsburg porterhouse palace is now joined by Boerum Hill standout Saul and beloved Di Fara pizzeria in Midwood. Can’t find Smith Street? The new guide now has a map of the borough’s best dining destinations.

- Ramsay’s Kitchen Pipe-Dreams: This week’s love fest for star chef Gordon Ramsay continues. After earning two Michelin stars, Gordon Ramsay at the London NYC also nabs honors as Zagat’s Top Newcomer. “[L]ives up to the hype,” according to the guide, but “not for the faint of pocketbook.” Meanwhile, Mr. Ramsay's controversial TV makeover project Purnima (formerly known as Dillon's) doesn't rate a mention.

- Vanity Fare, Seeking Correction: Hugely hyped “celeb-centric” Waverly Inn earned a not-too-shabby score of 18 for food. But give Zagat a big fat ‘F’ for spell-checking. Or lack thereof. Don’t know who “Grayson Carter” is, but if media titan Graydon Carter were publishing this guide, then heads would roll in the copy-editing department.