1) The Livanos family's Abboccato gets two-stars from Burros, just as it celebrates its first anniversary. Though she'd like to see the kitchen use sea salt with more skill and there was some beef with a waiter, she's mostly happy:
Anyone who likes quail but despairs of the bones should go directly to Abboccato's boneless, beautifully roasted preparation, about the size of a Spaldeen. It is stuffed with mortadella and pistachios and served with lentils, the traditional balsamic onions and an unexpected slash of mostarda, the fruit and mustard preserves often found on a cheese plate.Bruni returns next week to review, we suspect, Thor. [NYT]
2) In this month's Esquire, John Mariani names The Modern Restaurant of the Year: "The Modern's balance of innovative cuisine, gracious service, and impeccable attention to every detail is sure to make it a timeless classic and has already made it our Restaurant of the Year." [Esquire]
Just ahead, another 12 writers get uppity...
3) Platt fellates Thor this week:
At many ambitious restaurants, dinner tends to start off ambitiously, then slowly fizzle as things progress, but at Thor the opposite seems to be true. My duck breast, rolled in thin leaves of Savoy cabbage, was as tender and soft as fine Japanese tuna. There’s a good rack of lamb on the menu (at $23, it’s the most expensive entrée), and a perfectly nice cut of calf’s liver garnished, for added cholesterol value, with a crinkly strip of bacon. For real decadence, however, order the lobster, which is gently poached in the classic David Bouley manner (Gutenbrunner served for several years as the sous-chef at Bouley) and poured with a thick béarnaise sauce sweetened with cherries. Among other seafood dishes, the headless trout is flavored with a few too many giant caper berries, but it’s expertly cooked. Best of all, though, is the monkfish, which Gutenbrunner wraps in big Christo-like strips of crunchy golden potato and plates on a bed of sautéed zucchini, tomatoes, and a hint of thyme.While we enthusiastically agree with our man Platt on the importance -- and often failure -- of the mains, we cannot help but to discount the review, given that Thor is absolutely in its infancy. We'll be curious to see what goes on come March. [NYM]
Elsewhere on the page, Hodgson continues her ridiculous tour of infant venues this week at D'or Ahn; Cuozzo on Steakhouses; Tables for Two in over their head at Bruno Jamais; $25 and Under virtually alone at the Waverly at IFC Center; Sietsema on jerk chicken in Flatbush; Rosen gives Upstairs a beating; and The L at Jefferson Grill;
And on the blogs, Noshing at Tartine; checking up on Blue Smoke; the AG at Koi; and Strong confirms our claim about the deep friend mac 'n cheese at Mo Pitkin's.