Pete Wells bids adieu to the interim New York Times restaurant critic gig today, and before he handing over the keys, he bestows two stars on Smith Street veteran Saul:
...it has neither faded, nor stood still, nor sought a personality transplant. Instead Saul Bolton, the chef and the owner with his wife, Lisa, has upgraded just about everything in their modest storefront. Saul is the same restaurant, but better...
...With the exception of a striped bass fillet so aggressively seared that the skin was more carbonized than caramelized, most of what I ate showed the same unwavering handle on technique that set Saul apart from the beginning...Many calves would die in vain before I learned to pan-roast veal sweetbreads as precisely as Saul did.Of course, Pete doesn't go too easy on them. The cod was dry, the mackerel, dull, the prices, too high. But as far as neighborhood spots go, he says, it's a twospot all the way. [NYT]
Robert Sietsema has a rave for overlooked relative newcomer Quinto Quarto on Bedford St. in the Village: "I haven't had such killer bucatini amatriciana ($11) since the last time I was in Rome. The pasta...came gobbed with a tomato sauce whose richness derived from guanciale, the cured jowl of pigs. Like snow on an Apennine peak, grated pecorino blanketed the top." [VV]
Jay Cheshes gives four out of five stars to Gabe Stulman's Joseph Leonard: "Though seating is squeezed into every nook, the place is not claustrophobic. The DIY decor...is busy without being cluttered...Though the menu features more choices than there are seats, it doesn’t overreach." [TONY]
Plattypants files on the new iteration of Aureole in the Bank of America building. He is neither impressed by the design nor Chris Lee's food, awarding just one star: "...the more ambitious food at Aureole seems to be frozen stubbornly in the Charlie Palmer heyday of fruit-flavored entrées and too much foie gras...even Lee’s famous yellowfin-tuna Wellington had a flat, preprocessed feel." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: The RG gives three stars to Michael Huynh's LES beer garden Bia Garden, Ligaya Mishan has a pork overload at Engeline’s Restaurant and Bakeshop in Woodside for the Under, Tables for Two calls Sho Shaun Hergatt painful, awkward, Ryan Sutton is back on the baseball stadium beat, and while admitting it needs more work, Gael Greene swoons over the food at A Voce Columbus Circle.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives a B+ to Char No. 4, Immaculate Infatuation finds Permanent Brunch unspectacular, The Pink Pig, a San Domenico regular, is in love with the new SD26, Food in Mouth thinks Luke's Lobster's lobster rolls are tasty but too small, NY Journal deems Yerba Buena Perry worth the visit if you're in the neighborhood, and the AG loves the burger at Lure.