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Eaters' Journal 8/8/08: Nobu Next Door, La Superior, Barbuto, Mercadito Cantina

Barbuto, by the Kalina. Circa 2004

Nobu Next Door: It's not 2002 and even though you get two birthday parties on a Monday night, Nobu Next Door remains, The Right Call. The restaurant passed a spot inspection of the classics—yellowtail sashimi jalapeno, sashimi salad in Matsuhisa dressing, squid pasta, black cod (in lettuce, natch)—with flying colors, the flavors still vibrant and fresh and slathered in Nobu goodness. Just the mochi for dessert, pleasethanks. With or without a bamboo of the daiginjo, she's still a closer.—BL

La Superior: Given the look of the place (already dingy in its first week) and the horrific service (entrees arrived before apps, water took forever, no plates, we were sharing a set of silverware a one point), La Superior is shockingly good. Inspired by Mexico City street fare, the tacos, the guac, the gorditas, the cactus salad— all worth the visit for anyone in the neighborhood. Bonus note: Bon Ap's dashing Andrew Knowlton was spotted lurking outside last night. — Kludt

Barbuto: Jonathan Waxman's Washington Street Italian was packed per usual on a random Tuesday night this week, because on a midsummer night, there's no better choice for a grilled calamari salad and perfect roast chicken. Rest of the food, too, absolutely solid. Setting, one of the very best in New York between May and September, when they have the walls up and the whole restaurant feels like a covered patio. Ken Friedman, stop schmoozing with Waxman and eat your risotto.—BL

Mercadito Cantina: As reported earlier, place looks eerily like a Momo with those stools, the exposed kitchen, the bar seating, but the food will remind you of the other Mercaditos. You have to give them credit for featuring a creative "cocktail" list without a full liquor license (they have drinks made with wine, beer, and their homemade sake-like 'tric quila'), but the drinks sometimes leave you craving a real mojito. As for the food, it's in the decent range (like its sister restaurants), though $9 for guacamole is a tad pricey for a place like this. — Kludt

La Superior

3325 North Roxboro Street, , NC 27704 (919) 220-3588