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By Richard Leong
NEW YORK, Feb 20 (Reuters) - New York City is arguably the top culinary destination in the United States with six of the 10 best restaurants in the country, a survey released on Wednesday showed.
The French Laundry in Yountville, California, founded by chef Thomas Keller, was named the best restaurant by a panel of experts, followed by the Gramercy Tavern, Le Bernardin, Momofuku Ssam Bar and Eleven Madison Park, which are all in the Big Apple.
"This (New York) is still considered by most chefs the ultimate proving ground of their talents and their ability to run a restaurant," said Colman Andrews, editorial director of The Daily Meal, on the the food website's annual poll.
In last year's poll, New York City had five of the top 10 restaurants, with Le Bernardin taking first place and The French Laundry coming in fifth after placing first the previous year.
More than 150 food critics, writers and bloggers voted in the third annual survey of 101 Best Restaurants in America. They considered the cuisine, region, atmosphere, level of "buzz" and price range.
Andrews praised Keller for his attention to details, adding that "every part is done perfectly," and said the Gramercy Tavern and its award-winning head chef Michael Anthony also had very high standards.
"It's good as it's ever been," he added.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Pocantico Hills, just north of New York City, captured sixth place on the list. Chef Dan Barber's restaurant does not have a menu but offers a daily farmers' feast which ranges from five to 12 courses.
Chef Jean-George Vongerichten's ABC Kitchen landed the seventh spot in the survey, while celebrity chef Mario Batali's Babbo, which is known for its modern Italian cuisine, came in eighth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Girl & the Goat, a gastropub-style restaurant in Chicago, and Cochon in New Orleans, which is known for its southern Cajun food.
Not all the New York restaurants at the top of the survey featured fancy settings and expensive menus. More casual settings with creative dishes were also high in the latest survey.
Shake Shack, a popular restaurant chain known for its burgers and fries, as well as its long lines, came in at No. 11.
The full list can be found at: http://www.thedailymeal.com/101-best-restaurants-america (Editing by Patricia Reaney and Andrew Hay)