[Photo by flickr user Capndesign.]
This edition of Week in Reviews takes us to three boroughs, a dozen ratings systems and a myriad culinary places. Plus, fresh off his Freemans sucker punch, The Bruni takes to the sidelines this week to spend some quality time gawking at celebrities. Really and truly, folks, it's all happening.
1) First up, Alan Richman, Bloomberg's resident curmudgeon, has his way with Peter Luger. This, it seems, after the restaurant had its way with him. Overall impressions are: uneven, but often spectacular meat; consistently piss-poor service and atmosphere.
[A]fter four recent visits, hot buttered steak does not define the place. A mean-spirited attitude does. Peter Luger has lost touch with the concept of restaurant hospitality...You'll want to click through for more of his diatribe, which is the best take on Luger we've seen in some time. [Bloomberg]
Why didn't I send back that second porterhouse? Are you kidding? At lunch a few days earlier, a hamburger ordered medium- rare arrived medium-well. I asked the waiter for a substitute. He turned away without a word, composed himself, spun back smiling and removed it.
Much too soon, out came a replacement -- essentially hamburger tartare, raw meat given a quick sear. It was an act of stunning hostility. The kitchen staff might as well have tied a rock to that burger and thrown it through the windshield of my car.
Ahead, Platt at Tasting Room, Strongbuzz at Bohemian Beer Hall and a little thing we like to call Elsewhere -- this week including an appearance by Bruni, who has once again found a way to expense his obsession with celebrity.
2) Next, Adam Platt visited Tasting Room and deemed it worthy of two of his stars. He may have been inclined to award more was it not for the price point/value proposition:
Once you get over this sticker shock, however, it’s clear that Alevras has been somewhat reinvigorated by his new surroundings. He has a special knack for highlighting unusually earthy ingredients and shuffling them together in a deceptively simple, pleasing style. I’ve been eating around town for several years now, but I’ve never enjoyed silvery fillets of butterfish served cold, in the escabèche style, over a pile of pimiento peppers, pickled onions, and the kind of long, sinuous lunga beans you see ladies carrying around in bundles down in Chinatown, as I did here.But,
The service can be achingly slow at the new Tasting Room, and in the big new room, the intimacy that comes with dining in a small space is lost. But if you wish to tap into what Greenmarket cooking was like before everyone tried doing it, this isn’t a bad place to be.Also, Platt notes by way of Grub Street footnote that he invented the phrase Haute Barnyard in honor of this review, so do not get any crazy ideas and start claiming that as your own.[NYM]
3) And finally this fine day, we come to Andrea Strong, who gave Bohemian Beer Hall a Strong Signature edition good. Here's us cutting through the flowers for you:
If you’ve had schnitzel at Wallsé, where it is made from veal pounded thin and breaded in crumbs so golden they might be worn as jewels, you probably should not try the schnitzel at the Bohemian Beer Hall. But if you’re kicking back, having a lazy happy afternoon drinking cold beer under sunny skies, and feel up for a really good chicken cutlet, then by all means. And this is a really good cutlet—it is huge, the crust is well-seasoned, and the chicken is tender and moist. The schnitzel is served with a choice of side, and we chose the bread dumplings, which resemble a matzo ball that has been sliced. The slices are coated in gravy. I would not recommend the bread dumplings without the gravy. On their own, they taste a bit like I imagine Styrofoam packing material might taste.Overall, a decent outcome for the Beer Hall and a banner day for Lady Stronbuzz. [Strongbuzz]
Elsewhere, Frank Bruni at Da Silvano, Peter Meehan at SobaKoh, Hodgson at In Tent, Sietsema at Baci & Abbracci, Tables for Two at Ditch Plains, Paul Adams at Outlet Koca Lounge, Augieland at Goblin Market, Gothamist at 7Square, and Joey in Astoria at Petit Prince.