1) Bruni's on-going campaign to rejigger the Times Stars continues in his combo review of Mainland and Oriental Garden, doling out One and Two Stars, respectively to the venues. (Take away the BruniCurve™ and you've got a much more understandable Zero and One stars.) His conclusion is, "[i]n promising to coddle and sometimes even dazzle you, those newcomers set a bar for themselves that they sometimes can't reach. In promising to sate you, Oriental Garden hits its mark." About the two stars downtown, our confusion is not in a vacuum: eGullet doesn't get it either. And in re our Bruni meta talk, when he starts to focus on the food, so will we. [Times]
2) Strong gets to Tides ahead of the curve. Her review is middling:
You know what, I had a great time at The Tides. Yes, I think the kitchen needs to work out a their kinks, but the place has a genuine warmth to it and gives good vibe. What’s more, I believe its kitchen flaws are easily fixable—work on that aioli, get larger pieces of octopus for the skewers so that they don’t get so tough, and really dry out the clams before you bread them so they stay crispy. Hey, we are all flawed in some way. The question is what we do with our flaws once we become aware of them.Also of note for regular Buzz readers is that there is not a single mention of AS's new Chef Boyfriend here. While it's not our area, one has to hope this isn't a sign of trouble in paradise. [Strong]
3) The Law Office of Patronite & Raisfeld rolls up its sleeves and checks in on all the fuss at Queens Hideaway, a quirky, culinary, decidedly outerborough, trip. They issue the following closing arguement:
This isn’t the place for timid palates, but it’s a bit of heaven for those who like their red-leaf-lettuce salad embellished with “hard core blue cheese” and smoked walnuts, or their double-roasted fingerlings (served with barely cooked calamari) doused with malt vinegar. [New York]
A mind-blowing NINE more reviews just on the other side.