Here are my votes for the best ever Nikon lenses sort of in the chronology as I used them. Perhaps they are no longer the first choice of professionals, but at the time they were what continued to confirm that Nikon as a system had no peer. I've never owned the pro zooms, so I can't judge them - big, bulky lenses have never been what I loved about the Nikon system (I am, however, looking forward to owning a big, bulky FX camera):
50mm f/1.4 - after the 85 f/2 for rangefinders, the foundation that helped build the company.
2.1 cm f/4 - sharp, contrasty, low-distortion ultrawide following Biogon design. Retrofocus wideangles have never had the same character. Ultimately replaced in my kit by the 28 PC (on the list) and 20 f/4 (not on my list), this range now covered by 12-24 zoom.
105mm f/2.5 - a classic fast tele that spent many years in my kit as other lenses came and went. This range/speed/compactness combination is not really covered by my current lenses and DX cameras - a gap I'd like to fill. (Currently covered by 16-85 zoom, but not with the speed or DOF quality of the 105)
55mm f/3.5 Micro-Nikkor. Convenience and top quality for closeup and copy work.
28mm f/2.8 Ai-S - ultra performance, low distortion - another classic still in my kit, but the range usually covered by the 17-55 DX.
28mm f/4 PC - this was my most-used travel lens for many years; I now have the 3.5 on my shelf waiting for my first FX digital camera, or a 16mm or 18mm DX version.
8.5 cm f/2 (I got this lens recently as a curiosity to use on Leica M with adapter, but I could see how this lens built Nikon's international reputation among photojournalists in the 1950s). The 50 1.4G now nicely fills this niche on my DX cameras.