Ssam Bar by Kalina
1) In the most glowing review of 2007, Frank Bruni awards Momofuku Ssam Bar an extremely complimentary solid two stars:
David Chang is a terrific cook, a pork-loving, pickle-happy individualist whose integration of Asian flavors and his own unbound sense of what’s delectable makes for some deliriously enjoyable meals...And so drunken buffoonery it is for D. Chang. [NYM]
Everything about the setup of Ssam Bar encourages dropping in spontaneously, ordering piecemeal. Nothing about the setup prepares you for Mr. Chang’s wicked grasp of flavor and unerring sense of balance.
2) Adam Platt digs in deep at Mai House and his run of crankiness continues. It's but one star for Drew Nieporent and Michael Bao Huynh's new Tribeca Vietnamese:
Huynh’s subtle blend of traditional and fusion Vietnamese specialties (sturdy crocks of the beefy northern noodle soup “Bun Bo Hue,” Berkshire pork belly sprinkled with coconut juice) can sometimes be overwhelmed by this large, washed-out space, but if you focus on the simple things, you probably won’t be disappointed.So, all in, 'Eh.' Drew Nieporent, please do not start a blog over this. [NYM]
Elsewhere, Randall Lane four-stars Ssam Bar, Meehan down the middle at UWS' Earthen Oven, Sietsema at Paris Sandwich, Paul Lukas twofers NoNO Kitchen and The Smoke Joint, Augieland at Dieci, Two Spoons at A Voce, and The Girl Who Ate Everything at Ssam Bar.