Speculation about what will make the Gayot.com, a subsidiary of the Gault-Millau guide, Top 40 list are already beginning in earnest. Last years list is pretty up-to-date and I'm unaware of any major openings that stand a chance of making it. I would imagine that a few high-end places that were left off of last years list will simply be put on this list, and then they'll swap places next year.
Sadly, even though I love Rhode Island cuisine, I can't think of any places here that would belong on a top 40 of the entire country. I do think that Providence Prime would put in some serious competition for the top 10 steak houses. Hell, even Boston only has L'Espalier, and even then, I'm not sure it deserves to be on the list.
One large criticism I have of the list, and of Gayot in general, is that it ignores Canada. Montreal especially has restaurants that deserve to be listed in American publications and I think it a crime that they are not. I also think it's a real problem for American gourmets. Lots of us live near the borders and Canada is as much a local drive as any American place. Put all the damned restaurants in one publication!
But anyways, go check out the 2007 list to prepare for the 2008 list which should come out sometime in February.
The Gayot 2007 Top 40 (Via Gayot.com)