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Week in Reviews: Jean Georges, Eleven Madison, Philippe

1) Bruni, usually so thematic and/or conceptual, takes it back all the way to straight-up food writing with his four-star re-review (the first since Reichl gave it four stars) of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Columbus Circle flagship, Jean Georges. (Side note: 69.1% of last week's pollsters are right there with him.) There are no puns here, no jokes, no cutesy riffs on boyfriends with bad personalities and border jumping sports. Just food. And how it tastes, i.e.:

A crab beignet was a cascade of sensations. First came the coolness and gentle sweetness of strands of peekytoe crab, bound with béchamel, coated with panko, and fried. Then came a sliver of pineapple's more pointed sweetness and slight acidity. And then, fast on their heels, the heat of pink peppercorn, but only for an instant.
There was brilliant choreography behind a dish of Japanese snapper sashimi. The lusciousness of the fish was brightened by the sweetness of sliced muscat grapes, which was in turn offset by a buttermilk vinaigrette's faintly sour notes. Mixed into the dressing or sprinkled onto the fish was a bevy of herbs and spices, including mint, tarragon, basil and Thai chili, each of which registered a fleeting, teasing impression. The proportions were precise. The results were dazzling.
and, finally,
In a fantastically nuanced dish of crisp-skinned Arctic char, different dimensions held sway at different moments, the lemon syrup beneath the fish briefly taking control, the caramelized jalapeño in a wash of olive oil around the fish insisting on a turn, the caramelized porcini mushrooms and garlic in the oil ready to fill in any gaps.
Yeah, baby. Talk to us. [NYT]

2) The Hodg takes on what she thinks is going to be a totally boring Eleven Madison Park trip, finds that with the introduction of a new chef, 29-year-old Daniel Humm, it's actually totally awesome. Highlights, all demonstrating Humm's "purity and directness," include the asparagus velouté, the pea soup, and the sturgeon, but, it's important to note, the menu changes weekly. Official Eater hopes pinned on the constant availability of the suckling pig, because he "cooks the whole baby pig in duck fat for 10 hours." And while the place was virtually empty at 10:30 on the Saturday night the Hodg tried the halibut, she's counting on a change.

But when word gets around about Daniel Humm, the only thing needed here is going to be hard to get: a reservation.
212.889.0905. [Observer]

After the jump, Platt's first zero-star, the new Tocqueville, and the wonders of suffrage.

3) Platt weighs in with the first zero-star review since New York's institution of the five-star regime, in a double take on Philippe (zilch) and Barbounia (a grudging one). He does not like Philippe, no he does not:

The prices at Mr. Chow’s have always been high, and at Philippe they’re absurd. I paid $12 for a coffee cup of watery, Campbell’s-grade shark-fin soup and $14 for a few vulcanized segments of shrimp toast. Mr. Cheng’s eponymous handmade noodles also cost $14. They’re a variation, possibly, on cold Dan-Dan noodles from Sichuan but taste like a mixture of cold pasta and warmed-over Bolognese spiked with not enough teriyaki sauce. The bigger entrées are advertised as being for two or three people, which seems to be an excuse for rampant price gouging. Most of the seafood dishes are $48, and another Mr. Chow’s retread called House Me Mignon (lukewarm fillet encased in a brittle crust and smothered in brown sauce) is $50. Other old standbys, like kung pao chicken ($32) and lamb tossed with scallions ($42), are possibly as good as your local takeout joint but not worth the extravagant price.
Bulletproof. [NYMag]

4) Tables for Two
walks a little further down 15th Street for a look at the new Tocqueville, loves it as much as the old. Same old, same old, but the same old's still great. Nancy Franklin, taking a break from watching the Family Guy, likes the double-faceted take on ingredients:
slowly poached salmon with salmon belly, seared on one side, and a casserole and filet of Chatham cod, for example. The grilled lamb T-bone, the favorite of the table, was accompanied by a moussaka roulade, a little package of lamb wrapped with eggplant and finished with a sparky red-pepper sauce.
Only downer is Nancy's complaint—rightly, of course— about the receipt which, though the credit card had a "decidedly female name," was placed "right between people named Robert and Charles." Breaking: we're equal. [New Yorker]

Elsewhere, Amuse Bouche loves the wine at Nook; Veal Cheeks visits Kabab Café in Queens; Ed Levine Eats a Per Se hot dog; and the Underground Gourment has high hopes for Red Hook's latest, The Good Fork.