Address: 103 W 77th Street
Upper West Side foodies have little to grumble about this year. Set in a town house near the Museum of Natural History, Dovetail has simple decorbare wood tables and brick wallsthat belies chef-owner John Fraser's ambitious cooking. The astonishingly good food is both witty and surprising: Shucked oysters are mingled with pineapple mignonette and sea urchin roe and topped with fried Jerusalem artichokes; creamy clam chowder is laced with chorizo and applewood-smoked potatoes and served with a black pepper croissant. Airy puffs of potato gnocchi are topped with ragù of veal short ribs plus black truffles and prunes. The banana bread pudding with bacon brittle has converted many a skeptic to the sweet-savory school of worship (entrées, $28$34).