14. The Beagle

Neighborhood: East Village, Manhattan
Address: 162 Ave. A
Website: thebeaglenyc.com

On his IFC series Portlandia, comedian Fred Armisen successfully made a punch line out of that city's affected dining mores this year. (“Here is the chicken you'll be enjoying tonight. His name was Colin. Here are his papers.”) But Matt Piacentini, the Oregon-import behind this East Village newcomer, smartly edited those conceits, delivering a cozy canteen that feels distinctly New York. Chef Garrett Eagleton puts up new American standards, spit-shined with primo ingredients: Steamed mussels and roast chicken are both tarted up with foie gras; cocktails are thoughtful and precise, pierced with blue-and-white striped straws. There's nothing groundbreaking here, but the Beagle is a solid card I found myself playing all year.—JR