1) For reasons that are debatable at best, Frank Bruni is at Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Baldman this week, where all that sugar amounts to a Satisfactory. It's not exactly a take-down, but the Bruni is not exactly pleased either:
Max Brenner is a fantasy land for the aspiring pyromaniac, who will find a flame inside the egg-shaped cradle of the suckao, a chocolate drink that requires you to mix shavings of milk chocolate (dull) or dark chocolate (more appealing) into heated milk.Parting words, from Gavin, "Not everything,” he said, “should be made into a dessert.” A similar thought: Not everything should everything be made into a restaurant review. [NYT]
Neither Gavin, Bella nor their adult chaperones could get the chocolate to melt, so the children just spooned the soggy shards into their mouths, with the spillover dribbling down their shirts. GapKids should open a store next door.
2) Peter Meehan is at Fette Sau, the barbecue joint in Brooklyn so hot it could have been a Frank Bruni job. Mr. Meehan isn't one to beat around the bush:
HERE’S the three-point plan for having the best possible time at Fette Sau, Brooklyn’s newest barbecue peddler:Activities we endorse include: inquisitive imbibing. [NYT]
1. Go when the weather is good. Most of the picnic tables (all the seating is communal) are outside in a narrow alley that connects the restaurant, housed in a renovated garage like every third business in Williamsburg, to the street.
2. Show up early. After 7:30 p.m. tables can fill up, lines stretch (there is no table service) and meats run out.
3. Drink less moderately than you eat. The ’cue isn’t bad by a stretch, but there are real rewards for the inquisitive imbiber.
3) This week Adam Platt goes with a themed dual-review, a staple element of his arsenal, and awards one star and zero stars, respectively, to E.U. and The Inn LW12. E.U. is your typical I-get-it-but-I-still-don't-love-it-type affair. The Inn, on the other hand, would have been lucky to escape with such middling words. At The Inn:
You can procure a tepid, not very crispy rendition of a crispy pig’s trotter, too, plus a tough Berkshire-pork chop that requires a hacksaw to disassemble, and a grizzly Quebecois specialty called poutine, which consists of melted cheese and gravy (also pork belly, if you like, or braised beef) dribbled over little mountains of greasy French fries. These grim delicacies are not enlivened any by the restaurant’s location, which is smack in the middle of meatpacking-district hell. On our first visit, my guests and I showed up a few minutes late, on a Friday night, to find that our table had been given away, even though the telephone reservationist had aggressively demanded my credit-card number in order to keep it. We wound up seated by the freezing doorway, in a zone attended only sporadically by waiters and busboys, amid a crowd of random poseurs, all yammering at the bar.The rest ain't pretty either, but Platt does note that the sticky-toffee pudding isn't terrible. [NYM]
Elsewhere, Robert Sietsema at East Village Japaneser Chiyono, Paul Adams doesn't hate West 55th Street's Amalia; Randall Lane gives four stars each to Japtalians Natsumi and Dieci, Moira Hodgson two-stars Soho fish shack Ed's Lobster Bar, Tables at Morandi, Andrea Strong does her version of a pan at Anthos; Nosh in Soho at Centovini, Off the Broiler at Port Authority newbie Yoshinoya, and the Yuppie at P.Ong.