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Week in Reviews: Suba Gets a Pair

Suba, by the Kalina, 5/1/07.

1) Frank Bruni does his thing at Suba, now with Seamus Mullen as chef, and comes up with an impressive two stars for the Spanish restaurant. Mullen has been through quite a bit in the last year, as the Bruni notes with sympathy, but the chef comes out on the other side with a restaurant that stacks up to Boqueria, the other Yann de Rochefort/Mullen collaboration.

Given what he’s been through and what he continues to endure, you might expect Suba to be struggling as well. Here’s another strange twist: It’s not. While it has definite shortcomings and at least a third of its dishes don’t measure up to the others, the best of the food here is distinctive and exciting. In a few instances it’s even dazzling...I can’t stop thinking about the potatoes.
Final thought: "With Suba it’s clear: he and Mr. Mullen have forged a partnership with enough talent to get them past all the usual travails of the restaurant business, and enough determination to get them past some unusual ones." [NYT]

2) Randall Lane drops a two-fer in TONY's sweet spot, downtown nightlife, two-of-six-starring both Smith & Mills and East Village Yacht Club. The first is Matt Abramcyk's follow-up to Employees Only and Beatrice Inn, and the latter is the newest attempt to resurrect the onetime Chez Es Saada space. While he does note Smith & Mills's achievement in scene, he's not all that taken with either venue:

That I wouldn’t eat at either place again isn’t surprising. But I’m not tempted to go back just for drinks, either. Smith & Mills has the coolness quotient down, but lacks the infectious cocktail culture of Employees Only that makes braving the poseur scene worthwhile. And though East Village Yacht Club attempts to channel my inner sailor, neither does much to make 2007 a summer to remember.
Special August bonus color: The East Village Yacht Club has "the mildewy scent of a summer home." [TONY]

3) Peter Meehan on his now-bi-weekly $25 and Under beat drops the word on the relocated, reloaded Shopsin's at the Essex Street Market. It may be new, but not much as changed:

[I]t is still a disorienting documentation of Mr. Shopsin’s singular brand of kitchen madness.

That madness might manifest itself in, for example, the Shirley ($11), one of 29 wildly different dishes billed as “breakfast name plates.” It is a B.L.T. sandwich chopped into bite-size pieces, tossed helter-skelter in a bowl and topped with a few poached eggs. It is an indulgently madcap way to greet the day.

Good news as well is that the "sylders" are back and still excellent. And the Meehan out-the-door takeaway: "I, for one, was glad he was back." [NYT]

Elsewhere, Alan Richman will return to Hill Country, but not for the veggies; Paul Adams name drops Mario Batali in the first sentence of his Po Brooklyn review; the Underground Gourmet three stars East Village Cuban newbie Cafe Cortadito, Tables for Two at Union Square sushi den 15 East; Ryan Sutton has the early word on new Itals Centro Vinoteca and Bar Stuzzichini; and Robert Sietsema just north of Kings County Hospital at Bajan Cafe.

On the blogs, Andrea Strong musters a 'good' for Gemma; The AG does it, he finally does it at Pho Grand, Project Me on 5th Ave, Bklyn at Sidecar, and Scoboco at the new Chelsea Market hotness Ronnybrook Milk Bar.

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