Frankie Two Stars strikes again this week, giving Jason and Joe Denton's glossy Italian joint Bar Milano the standard deuce. Like the other critics, the Brunz takes the bros to task for the pasta, along with a number of other missteps:
"Bar Milano bungles its pasta dishes. Not all of them, but too many, sometimes in small ways, sometimes in big ones...That it still manages to be impressive, and at times immensely enjoyable, says a great deal about the seriousness that its proprietors and chefs bring to it...In the end it looks like the entrees are what earn the two spot, perhaps with some help from the cocktail menu: "Desserts aren’t one of Bar Milano’s strengths, but drinks certainly are...throw back a few of these and you might not even notice the pasta." [NYT]
Smooth, handsome wood surfaces define the lively bar are,..That menu channels some of the ’ino and ’inoteca spirit, though much of what I sampled during lunch there was curiously off key.
The dining room conjures a spirit of its own. One design element trumps all others, and it’s one of the restaurant’s missteps: a long, mesmerizing wall of marble strips and rectangles in different colors. The owners must have paid a fortune for it, and are still paying for it, in terms of the room’s awful acoustics.
And the Ago slaughter continues, this time with a scathing review from the typically pleasant reviewing team at the New Yorker: "Ago...might be the most cynical Californian export since Euro Disney. One is tempted to wonder, amid lurid cocktails and exhibitionist patrons, if the whole thing might not be Angelenos’ revenge ploy against the city that gave them Paris Hilton." [New Yorker]
Paul Adams files on newish Nolita small plates joint Elizabath. The food is mostly great, the service not so much: "Its menu of easy comfort food is designed to sate, not to challenge, and its attractive decoration of green baize and playing cards unsubtly evokes immature adult fun...Elizabeth does a brisk business in comped desserts, by way of apology for grievously sloppy, backlogged service." [NYS]
The Cuozz heads to Brasserie 44, and while the food is fine, it's the scene that makes him sad: "...you'll pay dearly for luscious, pan-roasted squab smothered in morels - not only in dollars, but the psychic toll of traversing the losers' lounge that was previously Manhattan's sexiest hotel space...the ground floor remained special, and a stroll-through felt charged with sex, power and mystery. All that perished with last year's desecration, replaced by what seems like a Midwest chain's notion of a cutting-edge Manhattan hotel." [NYP]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ryan Sutton spends an absurd amount of money (and gets a little queasy) at Kobe Beach Club, Kim Severson and Oliver Schwaner-Albright file Dining Briefs on Pomme de Terre and Clover Club, Gourmet has a taste at the Van Leeuwen Ice Cream Truck, Sietsema is at Astoria's Cedars Meat House, Alan Richman files on the charming Thai-Latin restaurant Talay, and Sarah DiGregorio is somewhat irritated by The Rusty Knot.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives Matsugen a B, eateryROW checks in on Ramen Setagaya, NYC Food Guy heads over to Aussie Tuck Shop, Word of Mouth Tries the slices at Joe's and Vinci's, and the Wandering Eater compares La Maison Du Chocolat to the Odeon Ice Cream Cart.