[The Bar Room at the Modern, by Kalina]
1) Frank Bruni, that crazy, twisted maniac, drops gives a whopping three stars each to Eleven Madison Park and The Bar Room at The Modern. This marks an upgrade for Eleven Mad and, in an entirely unprecedented turn of events, The Bar Room now boasts more stars than the more formal dining room to which it is attached. In what can only be described as a love letter to Danny Meyer, The Bruni awards both restaurants for tremendous followthrough in dramatic but comfortable settings. At The Bar Room, for example:
The Modern is divided into a fussy dining room and a more freewheeling bar area, where the food is less expensive, though not really and truly cheap.The Bruni gets all up in Eleven Mad as well and says about Daniel Humm's food "meals here now hit highs they never came close to in the past." Indeed, Danny Meyer rides again. [NYT]
The Bar Room doesn’t have the dining room’s view of the Museum of Modern Art’s sculpture garden, but it does have a more accessible, straightforward menu of dishes so satisfying that the trade-off is worth it. The tarte flambée, with its whisper of a crust and its confetti of bacon slivers, cinches the deal all on its own.
2) The Plattster is at the Russian Tea Room this week and, as anyone who reads the Platt might have expected, it just wasn't for him. It's one star for the Russian revival, and not a soft one star at that:
Ten of the dinner entrées at the Russian Tea Room cost over $36, and five of those cost over $40. And while most of the dishes I sampled were inventively conceived, their execution seemed to vary from day to day, and even hour to hour. The roast turbot (presented on a bed of gourmet pastrami and cabbage) was perfectly cooked one evening and radically overcooked the next...."for now, the Russian Tea Room is a place to go if you have a deep pocketbook and a taste for the faded, quirky grandeur of old New York."To put this another way, not so much. [NYM]
3) Randall Lane for TONY five-yes-five-stars Waverly Inn this week, marking, potentially, a turning point for Chef Delucie's kitchen. But, for a five star review it doesn't read all that blockbuster:
Chef John Delucie’s last gig, at the Maritime’s La Bottega, did not suggest that he was so dedicated to details, but this meal was looking good before we even ordered. Hot, eggy biscuits came with sugar-laced butter and the tap water—specially filtered in house to make it taste better—arrived in a carafe...the tuna tartare had a nice creamy avocado texture and spicy Dijon-emulsion kick. Clam chowder, crab cakes and oysters should appeal to the Hamptons crowds.He liked all of the mains as well, but a full readthrough will leave you wondering if his statemet "this place is the best surprise of the season" is just a play for a standing back booth resy. [TONY]
BONUS: The Cuozzo is also at Waverly this week. The message of his very critical non-review is clear: Bruni, they're all yours. "Welcome to the most annoying new place to eat in a long time. The service is clunky, the phone number secret. And despite raking in the dough for two months, it's in "previews" - meaning it ducks the press while incubating a colony of apparently beer-averse boldfaces (it's Heineken or nothing)." [NYP]
Elsewhere, Robert Sietsema at 'quintessential LES spot' Kampuchea Noodle Bar, Gael Greene fellates Kobe Club, Peter Meehan at Zoma, Tables at Cafe Cluny, Ryan Sutton drops the early word on 15 East, Paul Adams at Klee, The StrongBuzz at Flatbush Farm, Two Spons at Chat Noir, Restaurant Girl at Tori Shin, and Madison and Mayberry at DiFara's.