I read the list over, in detail, and a friend of mine from Moutfuls commented on how many people contribute reviews to Zagat for NJ. He went on to say "what you need to bump a review up or down." I thought it was an interesting, and very good question. I for one don't know the details, specifics, etc., of how these ratings are arrived at. Is is strictly "readers input" so to speak? The # of reviews/visits would certainly come into play. If it's readers, general public only -- then it's nothing more than odds at the racetrack, LOL.
Regardless, it's a very good list -- one that you could easily defend any restaurant on the list, and there are also many formidable ones that didn't make the list, got bumped off, etc. I think new places, "hot" or made a huge impact kind of places, start to replace places that have been on the list for years. Some of the "classics" are still as excellent as they've always been, but times change, new places arrive, etc.
That said, in the food category -- from the top of the list, # 1, to the bottom of the list, #50 -- it's a "tight" and narrow swing, from a score of 28 (for the # 1) to a score of 26 (for #50). Very tight. That's a good thing as far as food. You see many "classic" places remain on the list for years and you see some get "bounced" off. Always glad to see some of my favorites -- Varka, Vola, Sakura Bana, Knife and Fork Inn, Cafe Matisse, Saddle River Inn, Cafe Panache, and now A Toute Heure. There are also several I've been wanting to get back to.
Enjoy reading the list...and enjoy the food too!