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Week in Reviews: Richman at Home at '21' Club, E.U. Lives!

E.U. by Kalina, 4/3/06.

1) All up in the one-slot today is Alan Richman with a review of `21` Club, the venerable Midtown West old money clubhouse. Richman, he likes:

Ties carefully knotted. Greetings warmly expressed. Traditions meticulously maintained. Even the customers behave impeccably. Perhaps credit belongs to the rule mandating coats and ties at dinner, basically church attire these days.


The food matches the ambience. Two of my guests made essentially the same comment: "Old-fashioned.'' I shook my head in disagreement. "Old-school,'' they amended, and they were right.

Though he's got two complaints, the steaks and the sides, he'll be back, "Sure." "It's more welcoming than ever to outsiders like me." [Bloomberg]

2) On to the Bruni, who is down in Tribeca at Rosanjin, a Japanese restaurant specializing in the very carefully orchestrated and choreographed eating experience known as kaiseki. In the details there are two stars:

The dishes at Rosanjin demand concentration, because their glory is in the details: the curves of the leaf-shaped, leaf-colored plate on which a grilled scallop with grated apple dressing rested; the golden brilliance of a slightly sweet egg-yolk paste coating a braid of precious uncooked baby shrimp; the way the bouncy texture of yuba, which is tofu skin, perfectly echoed the bouncy texture of the delicately cooked baby octopus with which it was paired.
Parting words from Mr. Bruni: "The delicacy of this food and the precise rhythms of its presentation have the soothing effect of meditation." [NYT]

3) Next, it's the first post-Nawab review of E.U.. Randall Lane for Time Out awards the venue four of six stars, marking, perhaps, the turning point for Bob Giraldi and Jason Hennings, who have fought for more than two years to stabalize their East Village gastropub.

The studied informality of the lofty, AvroKo-realized space—exposed beams, jagged brick walls, oversize filament bulbs—works. The butcher-paper menu does extra duty as a place mat and bread-basket lining, tables are spaced tightly, and the music is cranked to a past-tolerable volume. The E.U. pulsates with the same energy that made Blue Ribbon and Balthazar perennial late-night destinations.
The problem with this, as Lane points out, is that they're only open until 1. But at this point in the game, that's a footnote. "When you’ve stared death in the face, such a triviality is just a bump on the ride into the sunset." [TONY]

4) And, finally, in the rarely used four-slot, Adam Platt is at Momofuku Ssam Bar and three-of-five-stars it. If only they'd bought a coffee maker:

I don’t especially like effete $10 tastings of noble, decidedly un-effete Kentucky ham. I don’t like the fact that a place serving grilled veal sweetbreads and the finest sea urchin from Maine can’t be bothered to serve coffee or tea. But mostly what I don’t like about the newest Momofuku (Chang also operates his first restaurant, Momofuku Noodle Bar, around the corner) is the unseemly way in which Chang’s inventive, deeply flavored cooking can reduce even the sturdiest, most jaded eater to weak-kneed paroxysms of glee.
The guy who eats food for Adam Moss for a living is, yes, quite pleased. We'd be remiss not to include the follow, which comes to us by way of one of Platt's dining companions: “this is just sooo damn gooood.” [NYM

Elsewhere, Meehan at Sunnyside meat market Restaurante Las Americas, Paul Adams at Soho newbie Caffe Falai, Tables for Two at Sripraphai, Robert Sietsema at J & L Mall, Paul Smalera for NY Press at Lenox Ave.'s Charles’ Southern Style Kitchen the Gourmetro at s'mac, Restaurant Girl at Natsumi, Salli Vates at Tasting Room and Scoboco at Morandi.

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