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Week in Reviews: One Star for Wild Salmon

Kalina, 4/4/07

1) Frank Bruni drops a blockbuster this week with his review of Jeffrey Chodorow's Wild Salmon. It's a one star job, which is a step up from where Kobe Club, Chodorow's last, was at review time.

Wild Salmon swims in the Midtown location where other Chodorow restaurants, including English Is Italian, went belly-up. Mr. Chodorow seemingly can’t quit this dramatic multilevel space, which has its drawbacks and advantages.

It’s so vast that it feels cold despite the soft glow of pretty lighting fixtures. But it has room for big, comfortable booths and big, comfortable chairs. From the high ceiling dangles the most conspicuous décor tweak: hundreds of copper-colored fish sculptures.

The food runs the gamut, by turns excellent, ordinary and puzzling. I never met an oyster here I didn’t love, and I felt almost as much affection for the Penn Cove mussels, plump and meaty.

Indeed, the review goes as planned and the Chodoblog remains dormant. [NYT]

2) Let's make a rare trip to Harlem, shall we? Randall Lane is there this week, and three-of-sixes the Hudson River Cafe, Ricardo Cardona's new restaurant all the way up on 133rd and Twelfth Avenue. For Lane, it's as much about the simple fact that the place is there as it is about anything else.

In fairness, precious little is particularly bad. Dish after dish is perfectly edible—and forgettable. Appetizers center on upscale food that’s fun to eat: moist, sweet Wagyu miniburgers on little brioches; a smoked seafood platter that lets you create sandwiches from the likes of pastrami-treated salmon, smoked trout and mussels; chicken, beef and shrimp satay that you’re supposed to reheat over an accompanying flame, rendering these otherwise tasty bites bone dry...The best appetizer I sampled was a calamari salad, ordered specifically after a crass waiter’s recommendation that “you’ll shit yourself it’s so good.” Think General Tso’s squid, and you get the drift: fried ringlets in a sweet-and-spicy ginger glaze, over sprouts, greens and shaved vegetables. Yes, quite good, if heavy, deftly juxtaposing sugar and heat, softness and crunch. But consider me unsoiled.
It's not fully clear how this follows, but "the addition of the transporting spot to the neighborhood has elevated the barren stretch to destination status." [TONY]

Elsewhere, the Briefs has Amalia, Smith & Smills and E-Mo Kim Bap, Paul Adams at Bar Stuzzichini, Robert Sietsema at Georgian Sheepshead Bayer Tamada, and Tables for Two at Zipper Factory Tavern.

On the blogs, Andrea Strong 'Good' at the Midtown clubhouse Patroon; Slice files from East 60th Street's California Pizza Kitchen; Nosh check in at P*Ong; The AG raves for Annisa, calls out Bruni; Budda Drinks Fanta finds froyo 'actually worth trying' at Crazy Bananas, Josh Stein at 'very expensive noodle joint' Wakiya, and WAPTA? files from the Delicioso Coco Helado.

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