1) Getting us off the starting block today is Mr. Frank Bruni, who two-stars Four Seasons and breaks a long-observed New York rule that the Four Seasons be allowed to operate with three stars. Quotage:
The standouts on the menu aren’t as numerous as they should be. The signs of a restaurant that runs on two tracks — one for the anonymous, another for the anointed — are too obvious.It's one thing to downgrade Le Cirque, with its new digs and new, reaching menu; it's quite another to screw with the Four Seasons. In any event, there it is. [NYT]
I get the sense that I’ve moved from the first to the second group about a third of the way into one of my dinners, with the arrival of a salad to be prepared tableside. Suddenly the romaine’s lone squire is joined by several others, who fuss and fret over the cart as if what’s under way isn’t a Caesar but a Caesarean.
No matter. The lettuce droops, the Parmesan doesn’t register and the dressing has an unexpected, unappealing tang.
But in spite of all the miscues, there’s a stubborn magic at the Four Seasons for anyone who’s ever seen it as the epitome of urbanity, and I’m hardly alone in that group.
2) Adam Platt signals that Bruni's Morandi review isn't more than another week or two off by filing his own this week. Not surprisingly, he can't muster much by way of love for Keith McNally's new baby. All-in Platt has just one star for Morandi. Verdict:
Morandi has none of the glitter of Balthazar, the manufactured raffishness of Schiller’s, or even the ditzy, slightly louche decadence of Pastis. Everything about the place feels characterless, haphazard, and slightly off-key. Which is to say, it feels like any other new, faux-rustic Italian joint, in a city filled with them.Of course, if McNally's aim was really to have a casual neighborhood joint, he'll now get his wish in a couple of weeks, post Bruni, post whatever-the-next-hotness, when the crowds actually retreat. [NYM]
3) And third up this week is Paul Adams, who is at
E.U. for the Sun:
The E.U. has cleared hurdles that would have stopped many restaurants and continues on like a juggernaut. That the food is so often so far above average is a delicious bonus. By design, it's an easy, convenient hangout, with a meltingpot spirit that's very American, despite itself.This marks back-to-back weeks of high marks for the gastropub, which is going to, finally, get E.U. the hell off of the Deatwatch Committee's critical watch list. Mazel mazel Messrs Giraldi and Hennings. [NYS]
Elsewhere, Randall Lane three-out-of-six-stars Morandi, Peter Meehan flat out showing off, playing Sietsema at Temple Canteen of the Hindu Temple Society of North America; Ryan Sutton drops the early word on Tasca and Central Kitchen, Robert Sietsema at the Soho wine bar Centovini, Bloomberg at Cookshop and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Tables at Chelsea's Klee, Andrea Strong at Fireside, Hodgson one-and-one-half-stars Midtown West's Amalia, Scoboco at Deici, Chefboy does Passover at Tabla, and the Feisty Foodie at Little Owl.