Bruni re-reviews four year-old West Village spot Mas, and upgrades it from one to two stars. It's just as graceful and energetic as when it first opened, but now the food is more nuanced and interesting:
"...there are restaurants with every bit as much vim and vanity after years on the scene as they had when they unveiled themselves, and Mas is a great example.Franktastic doesn't give Mas the old three because it isn't as "thrilling" as it could be (especially at those prices). Yet: "Four years along, the restaurant is still making fans. More than ever, it deserves them." [NYT]
...It’s an example, too, of the favors that age can bestow on a restaurant, or rather the way a restaurant can use age to its advantage. In growing older Mas has indeed grown wiser. Its talented chef, Galen Zamarra, is making better decisions and his kitchen operates with more discipline than in 2004, when I gave the restaurant one star...
...For the most part this isn’t a restaurant for diners with big, blunt appetites. It’s for those who revel in little surprises and unexpected nuances, like the smoked celery root purée that came with grilled turbot one January night."
The Cuozz is one of the many critics who files on Mia Dona this week. Some give it a mixed bag. Cuozzy (who is friends with Donatalla btw) adores it: "The impossibly inexpensive, all-Italian sequel to prematurely shuttered Dona is also almost impossibly good - and not just in relation to the prices...there's dreamy 'Florentine' meatloaf oozing from an egg yolk cooked for six minutes and wrapped in a mix of beef, pork and lamb...for all of $18." [NYP]
Alan Richman espouses on the new bar-as-restaurant fad and pays a visit to Bar Blanc: "The new restaurants that refer to themselves as bars often have well-regarded chefs on the premises, and, of course, mixologists on duty, although I've heard that these guys now want to be known as "bar chefs.'...The food is colorful and complex, perhaps more complicated than it need be. Predictably, it's tasty and prepared with enormous finesse." [GQ]
The RG heads over to the historic West Village carriage house, now home to Commerce. In spite of a number of disappointments, she gives the restaurant the ol' two stars: "Though there are a handful of successes on the menu, too many dishes amounted to overworked compositions with little payoff...Bent on proving his versatility and culinary repertoire, Moore overreaches with a self-conscious and pricey menu that feels notably out of sync with the informal tavern setting." [NYDN]
This week, Platt visits Marcus Samuelsson's MePa mega-restaurant, Merkato 55. For the most part, he's impressed, and deems it two star material: "Samuelsson’s reckless, slightly loony ambition, it seems, is to bring the jumbled palates and cuisines of an entire continent together under one roof and simultaneously to make them cool. Amazingly, he sort of succeeds...right now there’s no swankier destination in town for “Akara” shrimp fritters fried the way they might actually do it on the Nigerian coast, or plantain fufu, or a semi-believable approximation of stewed chicken doro wat." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Sietsema at Merkato 55, Meehan and Moskin are at Nizza and Sookk, Tables for Two checks in on the West Village's comforting, coddling Market Table, and it sounds like there was a critic party at Mia Dona as we get reviews from Paul Adams, Gael Greene, and Randall Lane, who three of sixes it.
THE BLOGS: Cleaned My Plate at Momofuku Ko, Strongbuzz hops on the Mia Dona train, NY Journal does too, The Sign of the Pink Pig at Eighty One, A Forest Hills Life at Bonfire Grill
—Photo courtesy of Mas