Franktastic files on the legendary Michael's and hits it with a goose egg "Satisfactory" slam, stripping it of the two stars it won over a decade ago from Ruth Reichl. The Brunz is almost gleeful in his attack on the ingredients, the pricing, the overall "California cuisine":
"California cuisine? More like gloppy, affected pub grub, for which Michael’s charges $25. That’s what happens when a restaurant starts throwing truffles around...And to chef Michael McCarty's credit, he's not absent—though he's not in the kitchen either: "He roamed the dining rooms, which are pleasantly awash in natural light during the day, and pressed the flesh of the well-heeled regulars..." [NYT]
...Dinner, granted, isn’t really the point of Michael’s. For that matter food is no longer the point of Michael’s, which functions primarily as a power lunch and power breakfast spot, a Midtown nexus of influence and affluence and fodder for Page Six. But Michael’s presents itself as a serious restaurant. It certainly charges like a serious restaurant...So it should perform at the level of a serious restaurant..."
Ryan Sutton is the first to file on the Momofuku Ko lunch, and after 18 courses, the man is still hungry: "The Asian-spiked American fare is worthy of Michelin stars; there's just not enough of it. I spent over $300 for a meal and left hungry... Peter Serpico seems to have distanced himself from the powerful, straightforward flavors he serves at dinner. No deep-fried short ribs, deep-fried pork rinds or deep- fried apple pie." [Bloomberg]
Alan Richman tries out the East Village newcomer Apiary and finds everything too sweet: "I realized the name Apiary could mean only one thing: Sweetness. And that’s what we got...I tasted 11 of the 15 dishes on the modest menu, and was happy with only a few of them. Dishes that sounded lively...unexpectedly lacked punch." [GQ]
The RG makes a stop at two buzzed about Brooklyn restaurants this week: Williamsburg's La Superior and Fort Greene's The General Greene. The former is dingy but impressive (three stars) while the latter, sceney and disappointing (one star): "The General Greene in Fort Greene is nearly as budget-friendly as La Superior. But the food's not nearly as good. Never mind the crowd waiting to get in....Some food is well-prepared, like radishes with sea salt and chopped anchovies...But some is downright dangerous." [NYDN]
The Plattster files on Convivio, Michael White's updated, redesigned, and renamed L'Impero, and awards it three stars. He's blown away by everything on the menu, but it's the pasta course that reminds Platt of another famous NYC chef: "Like Batali, the rotund, gregarious chef is a voracious scholar of regional Italian cuisine. And like Batali, he has the ability to take classic recipes and imbue them with his own combination of lightness and soul." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Frank Bruni and Oliver Schwaner-Albright file dining briefs on the mixed bag The General Greene and the mostly disappointing dessert spot Luxee, Ryan Sutton also has a slam for Delicatessen, Randall Lane gives five of six stars to Convivio, Sietsema is impressed by East 10th Street's curry laboratory Curry Ya, Paul Adams files on the LES street food spot Macondo, Sarah DiGregorio is at Bed-Stuy's Peaches Market, Gael Greene's fussy foursome approves of Yerba Buena, and Tables for Two files on Square Meal.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives his first grade under a B, hitting Campo with a C take down, Writing With My Mouth Full gets a shot at Ko, The Pink Pig is not wowed by Esca, Cleaned My Plate has a middling time at Aqua Grill, Goodies First wants to like (but doesn't) Cambodian Cuisine, and Lifestyle of a Yuppie is at Tamarind.