Ssam Bar by Kalina
Today the Brunmeister drops the big fat tres on David Chang's Momofuku Ssäm Bar, upgrading it just less than two years after his original review. He admits that he doesn't exactly love adding to the Momo hype, that he'd much rather be writing the ultimate Chang take down:
"We’d love to move on to a more original object of adoration and would be happy to pronounce him overrated or just plain over — we’re cranky and contrary that way. But he won’t let us. He keeps demanding more from himself and his restaurants, keeps giving us reasons not to stray."
Those reasons, according to the Brunz include: an expanded wine list and dessert offerings, more seating and a better layout, and the new lunchtime offerings. And maybe those two years have given him a chance to reflect on the original star count: "I’ve circled back because eating at Ssam feels so unencumbered, honest and joyful, and because I can’t stop reflecting on the daring and importance of Mr. Chang’s work there." [NYT]
Even though his wine is corked, he hates the decor, and his waiter is a white truffle pusher, Alan Richman enjoys his time at A Voce: "Missy Robbins’s food was exceptional, not simply because it tasted good but because it was unusually multifaceted for Italian cuisine...By the end of the meal, my now-jolly friend and I had even forgiven the waiter and the wine guy." [GQ]
The Cuozz is just excited there's finally some good Asian food on the UWS. His thoughts on Barbao: "Imperfect and not 100 percent consistent, almost-Vietnamese BarBao thrilled me on every visit. Raw materials like black cod and Angus beef cheeks are first-rate. Sauces, spices and chilies lurking at the bottom of little clay and iron pots ignite starbursts of palate-expanding flavors." [NYP]
The RG checks out East 60th's shiny new health conscious spot Rouge Tomate and gives it a whopping four stars: "Usually the thought of self-consciously healthy food makes me depressed...But I don't feel that way at Rouge Tomate, even though they've replaced most of the fats we associate with haute cuisine...Rouge Tomate may be a prototype for a restaurant of the future - a new way of thinking, a new way of eating, a new way of dining out." [NYDN]
The Plattster files a double this week on Brooklyn's Char No 4, a surprise charmer (two stars) and Bouley's Secession, a big flop (zero stars). He praises Char No 4's bacon, bourbon, and baby backs and finds little to love at Bouley's newest: "For those of you ghouls who’d like to trace the decline of New York’s latest gilded restaurant era...David Bouley’s slapdash new venture, Secession, is a good place to start." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Bruntastic experiences service issues at Pranna, Ryan Sutton declares Williamsburg's Motorino better than Una Pizza, Jay Cheshes gives four out of six stars to Irving Mill, Julia Moskin likes the pork belly but not too much else at the East Village's Hea, Tables for Two has a mixed bag for Char No. 4, DiGregorio, like The Cuozz, is a fan of Barbao, and Sietsema pays a visit to Midtown's mozzarella bar Obika.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives a B+ to Salumeria Rosi, The Girl Who Ate Everything files reviews on Motorino, Bonjin Cafe, Jane, Great Bakery, and more, Writing with my Mouth Full notices some attitude and Bobby Flay at Boqueria Soho, Lifestyle of a Yuppie is at the clean and dirt cheap HK Station, NYC Foodie is at the "sexy" Pure Food & Wine, Robyn Lee tries the dim sum at World Tong in Bensonhurst, and Gotham Gal isn't wowed by Irving Mill.