Bruni reviews the Renaissance Marriott's Chop Suey this week to see what consultants Zak Pelaccio and Will Goldfarb dreamed up for the menu. He spends the majority of his word count bashing the food, but according to Frankeriffic, the view of glorious Times Square alone merits one star:
"But we’d be sitting in a room that was New York all the way, its glass walls pressed up against the signature glow of Times Square....We’d be dazzled, at least by the scenery. And by the cooking? Well, our reaction might fall more along the lines of puzzlement, because Chop Suey, which mingles Korean and other Asian traditions, is an uneven mash of inspiration and clumsiness.And of course the Bruni doesn't pass on the chance to make a dig at the famous chef consultants: "The erratic results underscore the question of just how engaged such consultants get: of whether, once they’ve lofted a few ideas and cashed their paychecks, they feel any real pride of ownership or bother to follow through. I have my doubts." [NYT]
...But sometimes food isn’t the primary consideration in deciding where to eat, and some restaurants have persuasive charms beyond the perimeter of the plate. Chop Suey is all about setting, a second-floor perch in the Renaissance Hotel that juts like a ship’s prow into a bold, brash sea of light."
Adam Platt is the first to file on Momofuku Ko, and following in the footsteps of all food bloggers, he only goes once, reviews it less than a month after the opening, and decides to post it online immediately. He gives it a "rare" four stars: "Am I sounding like a worshipful food geek myself? Maybe it’s the madcap, quixotic nature of Chang’s new enterprise (most chefs in his position cash out in Vegas; they don’t open high-minded twelve-seat restaurants). Or maybe it’s the final savory course, a hunk of short rib braised for several days, the way Chang’s Korean mother does, in soy sauce, sugar, and mirin, then deep-fried." [NYM]
Ryan Sutton is the first to file on DeNiro's week-old Ago. Crowd is annoying, food is overpriced, but everything's delicious: "The bar attracts an annoying, noisy, high-fiving martini crowd. A hard-surface interior amplifies sounds, making it tough to hear...Think of Ago as another pricey celebrity magnet like Da Silvano (West Village) or Harry Cipriani (Midtown). But, to be fair, Silvano serves some tasty grub and so does Ago." [Bloomberg]
Randall Lane pretty much pans the overpriced but gorgeous Central Park restaurant South Gate. He gives it two out of six stars: "The space is indeed striking; the food, strikingly off...Heffernan, who made Eleven Madison Park one of the country’s top spots for sophisticated American cooking, has concocted a short menu that blends American, French and Eastern influences—and flops with surprising consistency." [TONY]
The RG heads up to the culinary hot spot that is the UWS these days to visit Ed Brown's pricey new restaurant Eighty One. Yes the luxury ingredients are nice, but the dishes are neither exciting nor "revelatory" and only merit two stars: "...the appetizers and entrees seem like second-class citizens that don't always live up to their charmed billing...Main characters were constantly being upstaged by their supporting cast: A lackluster fillet of black bass went neglected in the more interesting company of lobster-stuffed endive...Brown has much better success with meats, delivering an exemplary sirloin." [NYDN]
THE ELSEWHERE: Bruni and Meehan file on Momofuku Noodle Bar and Beer Table respectively for the Dining Briefs, Alan Richman has a rave for Elettaria, Paul Adams checks out Eighty One, Sietsema is at Midtown's Soba Totto, Tables for Two finally weighs in on Dovetail, Gael Greene thinks things are improving at Madaleine Mae, and Will Heinrich for the Observer is at pho palace Bo Ky.
ON THE BLOGS: Cleaned my Plate does an early review of Ago, Strongbuzz is at Olana, Sign of the Pink Pig checks out Williamsburg's Radegast Hall, NY Journal's at Bar Boulud, and NYC Nosh checks out Danal.