1) Staying with his recent theme of visiting restaurants that didn't open yesterday, Bruni stops by Taboon, West 52nd Street's chic Middle Eastern with one hell of a startup narrative. It was, he says, worth the wait: "Taboon puts a deft, sophisticated spin on Middle Eastern food, and it's better on the far side of its first anniversary than it was at the start... I gave Taboon another try about a month and a half ago and had a very different experience. Just about every dish was superb." [NYTimes]
After the jump, the Cuoz gets nasty and Moira gets bitchy. Join us, won't you, on the other side of this link?
* Is the same seafood supplier responsible for fishy-tasting and mushy steamed cod ($21)? Why is cod served with thick bearnaise sauce in August?Still on tilt from last week's GQ episode, eh? Naturally, we approve. [NYPost]
* How could hanger steak ($21) turn into such a train wreck - the beef unseasoned, tough and badly cut, the simple, pan-reduction red wine sauce an oily mess?
* Why, after taking a half-hour to send out seafood and sausage paella ($27), does the kitchen scrunch the whole disorganized mess into a small bowl? Why does the waiter act stumped when we ask for a seafood fork to extract mussels and clams? (Answer: The restaurant doesn't have any.)
3) Nearby, Hodgson tromps to Table XII, the opulent East 50s Italian outpost of chef Sandro Fioriti, and details some of the strange haute cuisine she finds on her plate:
I should have known better than to order strawberry risotto sprinkled with petals of flowers, but I was curious. It was jarringly sweet, crunchy and strange. I left it after a few mouthfuls, and the waiter swept the plate away without comment. A Sandro