The Brunster checks in on small time East Village Italian spot Perbacco, realizes it has gone through a serious evolution with its most recent chef, and graces the establishment with two stars:
"Not every dish at Perbacco succeeds. But something is indeed happening here, and apparently has been for four months, since the restaurant welcomed Simone Bonelli, a 26-year-old chef brimming with ideas and ambition.And another factor adding to this home run for the Brunz? Value, of course. Almost all the pasta dishes are priced around $15 and the wine list takes you on a "tour of Italy’s regions without impoverishing you in the process." [NYT]
...It opened five years ago as a less edgy restaurant and looks, from the outside, like a conventional trattoria...But it’s no longer conventional. It’s experimental, Lupa meets WD-50. Across much of the menu, Mr. Bonelli plays games."
Jay Cheshes gives four of six stars to James and three of six to the somewhat disappointing General Greene: "In the two weeks that passed between my first and second visits, the place had evolved from being better than average to verging on great...the General Greene—the more hotly anticipated of the two, with an enticing menu and celebrated consulting chef—fails to live up to the hype." [TONY]
Paul Adams checks in on the un-trendy meat-centric Avenue C newcomer Kafana: "Is Kafana newly opened? Check. In a hip neighborhood? Check. Glorifying meat? Deliciously. But there's nothing sassy about the little rustic bistro, no assumption that carnivory is a misunderstood art, or one ripe for reinvention." [NYS]
The RG weighs in on Michael White's revamped Convivio (nee L'Impero), deems the changes worthwhile, and gives them three stars: "...everything feels different. The banquettes are brighter, burnt orange, instead of somber blue. The service is still efficient, but somehow friendlier...Even the dishes carried over from L'Impero, including the prix fixe, have gone down in price...But the drop in price at Convivio doesn't mean a sacrifice in quality." [NYDN]
Plattster has a monster of a take down for Jean-Georges' Matsugen, giving it one star: "Who knows what causes normally composed, well-adjusted, sane people to become quietly (or in some cases, not so quietly) unhinged in certain dining establishments? ... maybe, as happened the other evening at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s latest experiment in international cuisine, Matsugen, it’s pretty much everything." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Alan Richman enjoys the paella (and not much else) at Socarrat, Ryan Sutton actually likes those chicken nuggets at Forge, Seth Kugel files a $25 and Under/round-up piece on restaurants serving schnitzel, Gael Greene demands the Restaurant Week special at Sheridan Square, Sietsema tries the new (and upscale) Greenpoint Polish spot Karczma, Sarah DiGregoria has a run down on the taco trucks in Sunset Park, and Tables for Two is at Scott Conant's Scarpetta.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives The Redhead a B+, Gael Greene has an early review of Allegretti on her blog, A Hamburger Today discovers Flay's Bobby's Burger Palace in Long Island is not worth the trip, Life with Food and Drink is disappointed with the week old Braai, Goodies First has some fun experimenting at Tailor, Salli Vates enjoys the num pang at Kampuchea, and Writing with My Mouth Full checks out Rayuela.