(Note: This thread was split from the Phoenix board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7004... -- The Chowhound Team)
At the risk of prompt moderation, can I take this thread on a small tangent?
How the heck does one name a "best" restaurant? How does one ascribe relative value to places with wildly different styles? I mean, it's one thing to say that this Sonoran hot dog is the best, or this steak frites is the best... though even that can get dicey when people stray from the strictest traditional preparations... but how can you possibly take fine dining, casual dining, Mom 'n Pop ethnic joints and greasy spoons and place them all on the same continuum?
This is like saying the Beatles were better than Mozart, or vice versa. Can't they just both be incredibly wonderful and influential musical artists in their own unique ways? Why does a discussion like this need to be a winner-take-all king of the hill match to see who can be named The Greatest Restaurant Of All Time?
I'm not saying the word "best" is one that should be banished from a food nerd's vocabulary, but it's grossly overused, and when you're trying to apply it to an entire metropolitan area with a population of 4.2 million, it's absurd. It's a diverse and wonderful world of food out there, and I don't understand the need to stratify it and declare a winner. Except when comparing things in the most narrow manner possible, I say leave the "best" restaurant discussions and the top ten lists for those who view dining as a matter of status. We should know better.