1) The Big Dog kicks us off this week with his buy-one-get-one Porter House and STK combo, one- and zero-starring the venues, respectively. At Porter House, Bruni arguably came close to two-starring based on the porter house options (of which there are beef, veal, pork, lamb and monkfish), but was stopped by the rest:
With other dishes, Porter House ran into trouble. Rainbow trout, one of more than half a dozen seafood entrees, was overcooked and over-buttery. The wild berry glaze on slices of duck breast was much too sweet.Points were rewarded for Jeffrey Beers' "exorcism" of V Steakhouse. And about the satisfactory STK: "I’ve never taken a spin inside a pimp’s stretch limo, and now I don’t need to." [NYT]
And not many appetizers impressed me. A smoked beef-tongue salad was nervy and flavorful, but I’ve seldom had crab legs as mushy and flat-tasting as the ones here. The lobster in a bisque receded into the background, demonstrating the same timidity as the lobster in an over-dressed salad.
Many of the best dishes are seafood, including a hefty jumbo-lump crab cake (underseasoned, but much of the food is), an oyster pan roast that can compete successfully with the legendary version at Grand Central's Oyster Bar, and a straightforward slab of swordfish. That monkfish ``porterhouse'' is outsized, wrapped in pancetta (bacon would have been tastier) and beautifully cooked, but I'm not certain anybody needs that much monkfish, essentially a bland fish.Bruni-Richman this week is a tale of two restaurants, to be sure, though they do agree on the Beers' overhaul of the room. Richman's take: "If you [recall the awkwardness of V Steakhouse], then you might consider designer Jeffrey Beers the da Vinci of the 21st century." Yes, he'd go back; and order the fish. [Bloomberg]
Ahead you'll find one Robert Sietsema's take on Lonesome Dove as well as an Elsewhere the likes of which is rarely seen in these parts.
3) Bobby Sietsema, making a rare non-Elsewhere appearance in this column, gets his two cents on Lonesome Dove on the record:
The food is at once playful and substantial, with some of the wittier ideas found among the appetizers...In a menu that's in a state of flux, I can't predict what will remain when you dine there...Luckily, pork loin rubbed with coffee and cocoa ($26) persists, and it comes with lumpy mashed potatoes surmounted by amazing onion rings. The waiters tout the garlic-stuffed beef tenderloin, and I guess it's OK, but I was not amused by the so-called "Western plaid hash." Finally, there's the pair of excellent New Zealand red deer chops sided with white truffle mac and cheese ($31). My date's blasé response: "They're going to murder as many exotic animals as possible, aren't they?"Sietsema certainly comes out of the Lonesome Dove experience a bigger fan than his peers Messrs. Bruni and Platt, though given his readership and their limited propensity to travel north of 14th street, its too early to call the tables turned for Tim Love. [VV]
Elsewhere, Randall Lane also in on the fun at Porter House, the Robs' Underground Gourmet three- and two-star Ditch Plains and Bondi Road, Peter Meehan at Flushing's only juk joint Bori Gogae, Bruniblog at Peking Duck House, Ryan Sutton's early word on Ramsay, Paul Adams at Izakaya Ten, Moira Hodgson all up in Picholine, Tables at Bridge Cafe, Augieland at Waverly, Gastrochic at Papatzul, Madison & Mayberry at Casa Mono, Nosh at Cru, and finally, last but certainly not least, Restaurant Girl at the just opened Klee.
This week's Week in Reviews is dedicated to John Higgins, who died on Monday of a heart attack. He was a longtime friend of Eater and will be supremely missed.