Sam Sifton uses his third review as New York Times restaurant critic to put Flushing seafood spot Imperial Palace on the map, awarding it one star. The main event here is the Dungeness crab, and the Siftonator's description is going to inspire a large swath of readers to head for the 7 train:
It is crab most everyone awaits — Dungeness, cooked over sticky rice and river leaves in a bamboo steamer, dotted with scallion. Cut through into pieces, the hard shells cracked, their essence exudes over time into the rice, bounces slowly off the vegetal bass note of the leaves and rides into the soft bite of the scallion, making the whole dish combine into flavors that are rich and complicated and delicious beyond compare.He reports that the Palace is at the "zenith of Cantonese cooking in New York City."
After a brief background on the history of Cantonese cooking and why it's gone out of style here, Sifty spends the bulk of his wordcount recommending dishes (get clams cooked in black-bean sauce, soup of any kind, duck tongues, etc. etc.) All of it, apparently, merits the passage to Queens. [NYT]
Alan Richman slams Ozersky and Adam Kuban for creating crazy pre-opening hype for Bill's Bar & Burger: "Allow me to issue a warning: Judging a restaurant by the food served at press events is like judging a baseball team by the home runs hit during batting practice...Worst, I’m sorry to say, was Josh Ozersky...he lost his mind when he ate at Bill’s...It’s a mediocre spot in the Meatpacking District." If only had taken the Robs down with them. [GQ]
One expects this kind of behavior from the blogs, but today the Robs best even their own reputation of reviewing restaurants prematurely. They have declared the burger at Steve Hanson's Bill's Bar and Burger "one of New York’s best" just a week after its debut, awarding it three UG stars: "Bill’s might be his humblest, most downscale venture yet, but it might also prove to be his most satisfying and successful. That’s owed in no small part to the featured attraction: a tender, juicy, mouthwatering, remarkably flavorful old-fashioned burger..." [NYM]
Katya Kazakina finds Russian newcomer Mari Vanna so packed a waiter asks him to host a stranger at his table (he declines). "Russian transplants to New York like myself will recognize the presence of Russian chaos and delight in ubiquitous home dishes...This stylized setting coupled with the modification of traditional high-calorie recipes for health-conscious urbanites is what sets Mari Vanna apart from other Russian restaurants in New York." [Bloomberg]
THE ELSEWHERE: Cuozzo slams Agua Dulce, citing both the recent public antics of the chef and his often lackluster food, Sifton files a brief on the Friday night lobster dinners at Red Hook's Rocky Sullivan's, Dave Cook files an Under on Green Apple BBQ in East Harlem, Jay Cheshes gives four out of five stars to A Voce Columbus, Tables for Two finds only a couple gutter balls on the menu at Brooklyn Bowl, Gael Greene feels like family at Harlem newcomer Gospel Uptown, and Robert Sietsema tries the wares at Brooklyn's Bark Hot Dogs.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine files a burger face-off, giving A minuses to Shake Shack, Bill's Bar & Burger, and RUB, Immaculate Infatuation has a rave for L'Artusi, The Young and Hungry finds a pretty good brunch option in Commerce, Always Hungry thinks Agua Dulce is worth a return visit, NYC Foodie loves the seafood options at Ed's Chowder House, and A Hamburger Today thinks the sliders at newcomer Mark are a total letdown.