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Week in Reviews: Franny's Gets a Two-Star Upgrade

Franny's, by Jozypoz/Flickr.

1) Frank Bruni files on Franny's, the Brooklyn mom-and-pop shop gone pro, which he upgrades from $25 and Under to two stars. He's taken by their back story and new chef, with Momofuku and Lupa credentials, and all around smitten with the place:

Other restaurants have honorable pies, admirable lettuces or noteworthy salumi. But take it from a cranky Franny’s doubter, now a besotted Franny’s believer: not many do all three with as much joy and distinction as Franny’s...Franny’s menu seems to change almost hourly, reflecting the real value Mr. Feinberg and his chef de cuisine, Joshua McFadden, place on using the best ingredients they can rustle up at a given moment...the carbonara sauce on top of al dente bucatini was almost ideal, neither stinting on eggy richness nor turning the bucatini into a gluey mess. Equally on target was the saltiness of pasta alla chitarra with butter and bottarga.
We're consulting the Eater Statistics Dept. to determine if this is the highest number of stars ever awarded for a menu without a protein-based entree (any idea? do tell), but an impressive showing for Franny's nevertheless. [NYT]

2) In the two-hole, we've got another two reviews of Rayuela, one from Hodgson and the other from the Lady of the Buzz, Andrea Strong. Strong has a good for it, and notes, "the kitchen here is on good, if curious, footing. The menu is a playful and fun experiment in pan-Latin cooking, but it’s also daunting. There are just under 50 dishes listed on the menu from ceviches, to salads, soups, appetizers, entrees, and sides. The pure volume of choice was overwhelming." So, to Hodgson and her one-and-one-half stars for some recommendations: "Pink slices of duck, marinated with sugar cane that delivers a lovely crusty skin, come with a yellow corn arepa under a confit of leg. Pork, white and tender as suckling pig, is topped with squares of crackling. Arroz con pollo is made with paprika rice laced with apple and chicken sausage, and the rice on the paella is a rich green from pureed cilantro, spinach and peas. Chorizo and clams garnish the perfectly cooked snapper in a creamy white wine lemon sauce with yucca." [NYO; Strong Buzz]

3) Paul Adams for the Sun is at Borough Food & Drink this week, for a fairly positive take on the place. Service, not so much; food, a small bit better:

A meal at Borough isn't quite like an aggregated tour of the boroughs, though The recipes are a mixed bag of classics, inventions, and borrowings from New York's many immigrant groups. Paul Williams, whose creative cooking at Sweetwater in Williamsburg amassed a following, here seems to act more as a curator than a chef: You can get a bowl of Katz's matzo ball noodle soup, just like they serve it down on Houston Street, but marked up to $9 from $5, or fried dollara-dozen dumplings brought up from Chinatown at $12 a bowl. Nobody's complaining about the markup, though. The large room...is crowded most nights...
And if they're a unifying theme, it's "fat." [NYS]

Elsewhere, in the Times Briefs we've got Monkey Bar, Kyo Ya, and Caffe Emilia; Danyelle Freeman has thee stars for Centro Vinteca; Ryan Sutton at BLT Market, which could be one of Tourondel's best; and Robert Sietsema is at Olympic Pita on 38th Street, recommends 'anything that says "Iraqi" on the menu.

On the Blogs, Joey Arak on what's it's like to be a vegetarian at Hill Country, Mona's Apple at Jadis, Sali Vates at Soto, and Vittles Vamp really not happy with the burger at Borough Food & Drink.

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