The Bruni files a two-fer this week in honor of the Times annual Drinks Issue, awarding Jody Williams' Gottino and the Marco Canora/Paul Grieco project Terroir one star each. He thinks these wine bars are so good they shouldn't even be called 'wine bars':
"With stool seating, a focus on small plates under $10 and lengthy selections of wines by the glass, Terroir and Gottino are better described as wine bars, though that term, too, doesn’t fit, because the best of the food rises so far above the gussied-up sandwiches and glorified snacks with which wine bars once made do.Strangely enough, Bruni spends little of his word count on the libations. However he makes a point to say that while the food is decent, you'll never have the comforts of a real 'restaurant': "...space is tight, the mood is agitated, reservations aren’t accepted and you could easily wind up standing and waiting 45 minutes for the privilege of straddling a stool." [NYT]
Terroir and Gottino exemplify a wine-bar evolution so thorough that nomenclature can’t keep up. And they reflect the increasing degree to which distinguished cooking pops up in the unconventional, informal settings that many food lovers often prefer...to force the question, are Terroir and Gottino restaurants in wine-bar drag?"
Sietsema gets off the Flushing/Bay Ridge cheap eats track and heads to MePa's Scarpetta, giving it a rave: "Other main courses my crew and I relished were a concentrated pyramid of veal osso buco...and a crisp-skinned swatch of black cod...The main courses, however, pale in brilliance compared with the pastas...Against all odds, the appetizers surpass the two succeeding courses." [VV]
And the Ago massacre continue. Jay Cheshes gives the place one out of five stars and resorts to movie jokes to make his point: "Ago...is the sort of restaurant you might expect from the slapstick De Niro...Ago Part IV: Agostino Takes Tribeca should’ve gone straight to video. The restaurant, a sort of upmarket California Carmine’s, feels like a back-lot version of a big-city trattoria, a work of pure cinematic artifice—not Goodfellas but Analyze This." [TONY]
The RG files on Scott Conant's Scarpetta this week, giving it four stars and praise for everything from the polenta to the 'cheesecake': "I probably went up a size...I blame Scott Conant. He has a wonderful way with the simplest ingredients. Polenta, after all, is just boiled cornmeal. Until you add milk, cream and Parmesan and layer it with preserved truffles...Then it becomes almost opulent...So many chefs in New York are busy serving arguments. Conant serves conclusions." [NYDN]
THE ELSEWHERE: Julia Moskin files on Greenwich Village's Rhong-Tiam, Hodgson has a so-so time at Bobo, Paul Adams is disappointed at Bar Milano, Richman finds some hits and some misses at Ed Brown's Eighty One, and Tables for Two files on Bar Q.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives Williamsburg's Fiore a B+, WhatISee has a long wait and spots Adam Kuban at 5 Napkin Burger, Cleaned MY Plate is at T Bar Steak and Lounge, The Amateur Gourmet finally checks out Mamoun's, NYC Food Guy finds NYC's 'best pizza' at Angelo's, and Ubereater has a rave for Pinche Taqueria in Nolita.