1) There is now no doubt that the Times food section is broken. On the heels of his two star review of Le Cirque, Bruni awards Little Owl the same two stars. Two for Le Cirque, two for Little Owl. Other two star classics include Buddakan and Dressler. And The Orchard. And Gilt. (If and when they can dig deep and drop the price point from $25 and Under the state of affairs may improve. Until then, now is your chance to open a two star, twenty seat restaurant.) Back to Little Owl, Mr. Frank, filing from his own, parallel universe, loved it, thought it was "a lovely place" and awarded highest points for the pork chop and the meatball sliders. [NYT]
2) Meanwhile, back in reality, Stevie "The Cuozz" Cuozzo files an early and complimentary report on In Tent, calling it a 'truly interesting' opening. In a nutshell: "The mood suits the menu, vividly seasoned and embracing a controlled exoticism just right for the adventure-craving neighborhood north of Little Italy's vestigial remains." Bonus InstaBruni*: the exact formula for an enthusiastic two stars. [NYP]
Ahead, Hodgson at Nagomi, more InstaBruni and Elsewhere as far as the eye can see.
3) Moira Hodgson two stars Prince Street newbie Nagomi:
Nagomi is more than just a sushi restaurant. The menu, which has over 100 dishes (not including 28 choices of sushi), also branches into fusion, and there are interesting specials every day. Bright green, lightly crisped pancakes come with a soft filling of puréed peas and are topped with mushrooms and a sliver of Parmesan. Hunks of beef ribs, falling off the bone, are coated with a thick teriyaki sauce; a risotto is made with uni and sprinkled with pearls of salmon caviar (not a complete success—the rice could be creamier). The glazed duck arrives in rare, meaty slices with a salad of slivered, raw red cabbage and cucumber.Hat tip to the Hodge for an inspired review choice. InstaBruni: Wouldn't dine here, but if he did, he'd go with one star, enjoying plenty but ultimately finding it too scattered. [NYO]
*InstaBruni: Based on the reliable assumption that Bruni's reviews are based on a preconceived idea of a restaurant and not the actual restaurant, the number of stars a restaurant will, or would, get in his universe--and, by extension, the Times Dining section.