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Week in Reviews: Barça 18, Jovia, Compass/Cafe Luxembourg

1) Adam Platt is the most recent reviewer to hate on Barça 18, the over-priced, underwhelming plate of nonsense just off the Steve Hansen assembly line. Platt's analysis, really, should not leave you still wanting to try it:

No one should confuse Barça 18 with Le Bernardin, however. The Hanson-esque theatrical touches are apparent as soon as you walk through the door. First, there’s the room, which is built for volume (and, therefore, profits) and is as big as an industrial cow barn. The walls and ceiling have been painted in an inky, brooding Iberian grayness. Six giant lamps swathed in yellowy-orange cloth twirl slowly above the tables in dramatic fashion. The bar area seems a little cramped for a Hanson restaurant, but the bar itself has a glass top that’s lit from within in flaming colors and separated from the dining area by branches from the kind of scraggly, leafless trees you’d presumably find in the more arid regions of Spain. Predictably, the menu is cluttered with lots of paellas and tapas dishes, and it’s interspersed with improvised seafood fusion specialties (New York–style seared tuna in sherry vinegar, very un-Mediterranean swordfish layered with chorizo and tomato) that prompted one of my Spain-obsessed foodie friends to let out a sigh. “Of course, there’s nothing remotely Spanish about any of this,” he said.
Platt is only collaborating what Bruni's Diner's Journal insinuated a few weeks ago. Even Strong, who usually drinks until she loves, only goes so far as to say, "despite the few glitches on the menu, I liked the food at Barça 18. I live a block away so it’s nice to have another place to go when Bar Jamon is transformed into a sardine can." So can we move on, folks? Still want to try it? Bruni, we dare you to waste a page of the Dining In/Out on an inevitable one-star review. [NYM, Strong]

2) Jovia gets the Hodgson once-over and, despite having a menu filled with pretentious, over- done prose, comes out two-stars the richer:

Mr. DeChellis’ loin of venison “cooked in the wild” was a dish worthy of the court of Louis XIV or Charles I. The waiter brought it in a large crock topped with a pastry shell that he sliced open at the table. The venison had been cooked on juniper and pine branches, and a wonderful aroma wafted out, mingled with the scent of mushrooms and chestnuts.

Quail and duck were deboned and layered in pieces looking rather like a loose meatloaf. The flesh was pink and succulent (and I detected liver in there, too). This marvelous dish was served with roasted Jerusalem artichokes, persimmon and black truffles.
Though clearly for the uptown set, DeChellis seems to be on the right track again. [Observer]

Elsewhere, Bruni two-stars and one-stars Compass and Cafe Luxembourg, respectively; Under $25 at Northeast Kingdom, Nosh goes to Harlem for Amy Ruth's, Gotham Gal pans Cercle Rouge, Veel Cheeks checks in on future Eater 38 listee Annisa, and Tables for Two at Vinny Vincenz's Pizzamobile.

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