1) Kicking things off for us today, as he so often does, we have Frank Bruni's three star judgment for Gramercy Tavern. Anyone who's eaten at the restaurant of late saw this coming, and it's comforting to know that from time to time the Bruni is willing to play by New York rules:
For nearly 13 years it has held a place in the hearts of New Yorkers and visitors to Manhattan that’s arguably unrivaled. And it has proven that at the end of the day, both literally and figuratively, what most diners want isn’t nerve-jangling sensation or cutting-edge surprise. It’s a kind of unstrained graciousness and unlabored sophistication that Gramercy Tavern has pretty much defined...Gramercy Tavern is a homey retort to the slickness of some fine-dining peers, and minor changes to lighting and art have made it look fresher, less where your grandmother goes after needlepoint class and more where your aunt goes after Italian for the Umbria-bound.One interesting bit you'll want to note: The Bruni's favorite of the Meyer restaurants remains Eleven Madison Park, "currently the most exciting restaurant in Mr. Meyer’s collection." [NYT]
2) For a place that is ultimately a cocktail lounge, PDT, the East Village newbie attached via hidden entrance to Crif Dogs, was put through the ringer, attracting looks from Pete Wells, The Robs, and Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton. So how'd she do? Wells on the cocktails: "precisely calibrated, classically inclined." Robs, who two-starred, on the concept: "The idea is genius and a time-saver: food you eat when you’re drunk, served while you’re in the process of getting that way." Sutton on the prices: "The $11 price is cheap for classic, refined cocktails. The G&T comes with house-made tonic. Daiquiris are Hemingway-style, with grapefruit juice and Maraschino liqueur. Bartenders around town have been making this drink a bit sweeter than the original. Here, it's strong and sour." [NYT; NYM; Bloomberg]
3) And before we throw to the Elsewhere, Paul Adams is at Landmarc TWC this week, and is decidedly un-wowed. Steaks and wine, also the staples of the original Tribeca location, are the best thing going. And Murphy is making c-a-s-h cash: "Even if all 300 people drop just a stingy $25, that compares pretty favorably with Masa's $300 dinners served to 26 seats a night. And that's just one seating: Landmarc does business 19 hours every day, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner." In a nutshell, Landmarc TWC, though profitable, is "a rock among jewels." [NYS]
Elsewhere, while Sietsema and Platt enjoy off-weeks, Tables for Two rolls with a party of three to Ed's Lobster Bar, NYT Dining Briefs with early verdicts on Grayz, Thai Market (and PDT), The Robs have a deuce for Park Slope's Willie's Dawgs and (PDT), and Sutton at Grom. (and PDT).
On the blogs, Andrea Strong at Aurora Soho, Gothamist in Flushing at A Fan Ti, AG crashes the Conde Cafeteria, Scoboco at long-standing UWS fave Gennaro, and Shepherd with an early report on Gaucho Steak Co..