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Week in Reviews: Commerce Gets a One

Krieger, 2/19/08

Bruni heads to the West Village's newest shiny object, Commerce this week and gives it one star. Unlike Platt—who thought the good food mitigated the 'exhausting' atmosphere—the Brunz calls the out place (and the food) as fussy, overwrought:

"...he creates a rankling dissonance, his dishes beseeching a closeness of attention that the frenzied atmosphere doesn’t easily permit...

And he errs. While there’s some wonderful food that reflects the talent he showed and the experience he received at Montrachet and then March, there’s also some food that’s not cooked or seasoned as it should be, and there’s food that’s too fussy, not just for the ambience but also for its own good...

...It’s more pretty than comfortable, and its menu is more interesting than trustworthy, though no evening is likely to be a bust."

Oh but wait. There is one good thing: "...if all else fails there’s the bread basket...a throwback to the days when carb wasn’t a four-letter word....I always vowed not to polish it all off, and I always ended up staring at crumbs." [NYT]

Ryan Sutton calls first dibs on Benoit, Alain Ducasse's week old Parisian bistro: "...come for the history. Stay for the food. The opening-week fare yielded pleasures on par with Balthazar and Bar Boulud -- the city's best outposts for casual French...This is humble fare from a humbled Ducasse." [Bloomberg]

As for Ducasse's other venture Adour, the Cuozz checks it out this week and files a rave: "Alain Ducasse's purply plush new rest-aurant in the St. Regis is definitely not for Chowhound-posting, 'Cheap Midtown?' types. But what fun you can have for $150 (at least) a head!" [NYP]

The RG heads over to Brooklyn's Korhogo 126 to try their French West African fare and awards it two stars: "The chef injects a rush of seasonings and flavors from his homeland into French bistro staples. This translates to a menu where African classics...appear alongside steak frites...Order the escargot...These plump nibbles luxuriate in a Pernod sauce perfumed with star anise and crushed red pepper." [NYDN]

Platt visits the West Village's "newest hot, hot restaurant" Commerce, finds the whole experience exhausting, and deems the food worthy of two star status: "...the people who run Commerce are no strangers to the glittering, ephemeral world of flashy New York restaurants...But in the end, as Keith McNally and Danny Meyer will tell you, it’s the food that keeps people coming back. Moore is a big-league gourmet chef, and you could argue that some of the food he produces here is almost too busy and accomplished for its own good." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Peter Meehan is one of the first major critics to review the city's newest and splashiest ramen shop, Ippudo, Jay Cheshes slams Palm Court at the Plaza, giving it one out of six stars, Sarah Digregorio visits some temple canteens out in Flushing, Paul Adams drops in on Terroir, Sietsema checks out the vegetarian Tamil Nadu Bhavan on Lexington, Tables For Two files on the masculine South Gate, and Gael Greene tries out 44th Street's Padre Figlio.

THE BLOGS: NYC Food Guy has a cheesesteak at Midtown's Shorty's, NY Journal beats Bruni to Commerce, Project Me is at the new Brooklyn outpost of Ghenet, Andrea Strong tries Smith Street staple Saul, Writing with my Mouth Full enjoys the spring weather (and some pork) at Fette Sau, and eateryROW has a cocktail at PDT.

Benoit Bistro

60 West 55th Street, New York, NY 10019 646 943 7373


1403 2nd Street, , CA 90401 (310) 893-0577 Visit Website

Fifty Paces

413 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10009


50 Commerce Street, New York, NY 10014 Visit Website


2 E. 55th Street, New York, NY 10022 (212) 710-2277