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Week in Reviews: Chinatown Brasserie, Ruhlmann, Adderley

The hammer dropped on Chinatown Brasserie and Brasserie Ruhlmann, another new review format at the Daily News, and Meehan gets the first word on Farm on Adderley. Yes, indeed, it's the Week in Reviews.

2006_07_chinatown.jpg1) Bruni, operating strictly by the book, one-stars Chinatown Brasserie:

Chinatown Brasserie takes dim sum seriously enough that it has a separate chef, Joe Ng, devoted to it. His thoughtful, prolific output includes not only soup dumplings but also steamed dumplings filled with shrimp and snow pea leaf. It includes not only pork pot stickers but also green chili peppers stuffed with shrimp and encased in tempura batter...

Mr. Ng is having fun. You probably will, too.

With this part of the menu, that is. With the rest of it, supervised by the executive chef, Tyson Wong Ophaso, Chinatown Brasserie was a mix of wins, losses and draws, and the outright wins, unfortunately, were rarest. Across many menu categories — wraps, rolls, salads, barbecue dishes, entrees, noodles, fried rice — the kitchen turned out food that was usually less gloppy than typical takeout fare, but not always more pleasurable.

Bruni's final verdict, in which he conspicuously avoids the word "Balthazar" "Keith" and "McNally,": "The egg roll meets the Odeon." [NYT]

2) Platt drops a two-fer this week on Chinatown Brasserie and Brasserie Ruhlmann, one- and zero-starring them, respectively. On Chinatown, he and the Bruni are generally in agreement, though Platt's beef is based on the been-there-done-that factor:

[I]f you’ve been dining out around town over the last few years, you’ve seen this kind of place before. Chinatown Brasserie is yet another large, theatrical, Asian-themed dining palace, a place where the mostly Western waitstaff are made to squeeze into black ninjalike outfits and mini Suzie Wong costumes, where the $12 cocktails tend to be sweet and highly colored, and where you can party until the wee hours in a dimly lit subterranean bar space decked out with large and impressively intricate landscape sculptures imported from China and an actual pond, filled with lily pads and a school of picturesque and gently gliding koi.
He goes on to say that Joe Ng is the main attraction and that the "simpler entrées at Chinatown Brasserie tend to work better than the more elaborate ones." More of the same at Ruhlmann, but there it's an Art Deco boredom. [NYM]

3) In week two of "Dining Dilemma," the Daily News' newest quasi-review format, styled as a Q & A, the obviously manufactured query is "My husband loves everything Japanese. I'd love to take him to a place offering great —sushi, cool decor and a bit of pop culture to boot." The review/answer is, Butai. If one can get past the complete absurdity of the format -- the questions are clearly retrofitted to suit the slated review -- a decent take on an old standby awaits. [NYDN]

Ahead, Meehan at Adderley, Sietsema on the latest and greatest in Yemeni dining, and much much more.

Elsewhere, Peter Meehan generally pleased with The Farm of Adderley, Sietsema sated at Sanaa, Paul Adams at Barbone, Lady Strongbuzz not a fan of In Tent, Eat on the 'delicious' coffee at La Esquina, and Twenty Buck not pleased at B'klyn newcomer bar Cherry Tree.