This week The Bruni files his assessment on Drew Nieporent's widely lauded Montrachet re-do, Corton. And it reads nothing like the spanking he gave the chef, Paul Liebrandt, back when he was cooking at Gilt. Though there exists minor setbacks (grouped together in the final grafs), it's a solid three star for Liebrandt:
"At Corton he calms down and wises up, accepting that an evening in a restaurant shouldn’t be like a visit to a fringe art gallery: geared to the intellect, reliant on provocation. It needn’t demand raptness. And it must, in the course of whatever else it means to accomplish, leave a person eager for the next bite and intent on the one after that.
...At Corton Mr. Liebrandt finds the sweet spot between disciplined cooking and intricate, imaginative leaps....Corton is for the most part superb, and joins the constantly improving Eleven Madison Park as a restaurant hovering just below the very summit of fine dining in New York."So it may have just missed the summit, but it doesn't get much better than being called an "out-and-out deal" and "heroically less expensive" than its peers right about now. [NYT]
Alan Richman files early on The John Dory and is enraptured by April Bloomfeld and her "single handed" attempt to bring excellent British food to the States. But there are some things you need to keep in mind: "At a time when fine dining is becoming more and more casual, The John Dory has reversed the trend. It’s a fancy place, clearly defined...It’s also expensive..raw diver scallop for $17 is not cheap, but it is sensational." [GQ]
The RG files on West Village newcomer Braeburn and, like Sietsema before her, finds it a tad too fussy. She awards it two stars: "Braeburn has a lot going for it — a great corner location in the West Village, a rustic feel, an experienced chef, and yet somehow it ends up feeling like high-end middle-of-the-road...Keep it simple, put more on the plate, think about the customers..." [NYDN]
In the Platter's stead, the Robs file a report on Jean Adamson and Sam Buffa's new Brooklyn spot, Vinegar Hill House, giving it three UG stars. The majority of review is dedicated to the "personality" of the place, but they do give us a few food lines at the very end: "But this half-chicken is truly exceptional—moist and meaty with a parchment-crisp skin, not to mention remarkable flavor. Equally satisfying despite being served in a mere bowl is a tender clump of braised lamb shoulder..." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Schwaner-Albright files a $25 and Under of sorts on a bevy of affordable options throughout the city, Jay Cheshes becomes the third critic to give Braeburn a slam, Gourmet offers a first taste of L'Artusi, Ryan Sutton files a twofer on Pranna and At Vermillion, Sarah DiGregorio tries Top Café Tibet in Ditmas Park, Tables for Two isn't impressed with Bouley's execution at Secession, while Sietsema does a roundup on the Roosevelt Food Court in Flushing.
THE BLOGS: Easy Ed, reviewing a beer menu without reviewing the beer, gives a C+ slam to City Bakery, Off the Broiler gives us a photo tour of Dirt Candy, The Food Doc thinks most dishes at Shang need more salt, Cleaned My Plate enjoys standby Raoul's, Lifestyle of a Yuppie is impressed by the recently two starred Kanoyama, Always Eating has an incredibly early review of Baoguette, and Writing with my Mouth Full has some over attentive waiters at Anthos.