The Bruni visits the final four star restaurant on his list, Daniel, and deems the D-Biggity still worthy of the elite club. It keeps the four. It's the food, yes, and the service, but the Brunmeister gives a lot of credit to the new face lift, which he calls "one of the most successful redesigns" he's ever seen:
"If you haven’t dined at Daniel in the last four and a half months, you haven’t dined at Daniel...You may have had food as impressive in its precision...You may have had Daniel’s charmed and charming service, which at times seems more like sorcery...But you experienced all of this in a tritely romantic setting that was dated from the very instant of the restaurant’s debut...Not anymore...
All in all Daniel remains one of New York’s most sumptuous dining experiences. And while it yields fewer transcendent moments than its four-star brethren and falls prey to more inconsistency, it has a distinctive and important niche in that brood, a special reason to be treasured....I never walked out the door feeling less than elated."And a final note on the service, from the audio slideshow: "Dining out is more than just the beauty of the food on the plate; it's about a whole context of pampering." [NYT]
Bidding adieu to the Cipriani's reign over the Rainbow Room, Ryan Sutton files a hammer drop: "A chicken club sandwich, no better or worse than at a local deli, costs $24. Crispy onions had a musty aftertaste reminiscent of attic dust...Pumpkin cannelloni tasted of pasty canned baby food and mushy pasta. Terrible." [Bloomberg]
Continuing in the curmudgeon vein, The Cuozz has a slam for El Chod's Center Cut: "This organically obsessed beef joint not only spares your arteries, it leaves only the flimsiest imprint on your palate, eyes and mind...the generic look - marble floor, wood-paneled walls, leather booths and big windows that don't offer much of a view - mimics a menu out of focus from top to bottom." [NYP]
The RG checks out Tribeca hot spot Macao Trading Company. She hates the food, but the bar scene seems to merit her two stars: "What were they thinking? The chef is David Waltuck from Chanterelle. The management is the mustached gang from Employees Only. Surely, they know better...The fact that you can dream it up doesn't mean anyone wants to eat it." [NYDN]
THE ELSEWHERE: Robert Sietsema has a mixed bag for The John Dory, while there's nothing mixed about Alan Richman's views on L'Artusi, Jay Cheshes gives Inside Park at St. Bart's four out of six stars, Dave Cook does a roundup on South American restaurants, Sarah DiGregorio discovers a taqueria once located in a tortilla factory, Tortilleria Mexicana Los Hermanos, has reopened in a new space, and Tables for Two notices a problem or two with Dirt Candy.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine decides Baoguette could have the best bahn mi in all of New York, giving it an A -, Cleaned My Plate goes to Freemans, Burger Club finally gets around to trying J.G. Melon, Robyn Lee has some beautiful shots of the dim sum at Perfect Team Corporation, Lifestyle of a Yuppie has mostly good news for Rouge Tomate, NY Journal tries the fare of the new chef at Benoit, VittlesVamp finds the food at Macao Trading Co. colorful but not exceptional, while The Wandering Eater enjoys the soba at Matsugen.