Sam Sifton delivers a one-two punch today, filing on two of Jeffrey Chodorow's redos, Ed's Chowder House and Tanuki Tavern, awarding one giant goose egg for the former, a onespot for the latter. After noting that El Chod is the city's biggest restaurant showman, offering glitz and dazzle but not always great cuisine, he goes in for the real critique. Tanuki? Not so bad:
The result is young and exciting, with food from the same larder as Ono’s: respectable, perfectly good quasi-Asian fare...Tanuki is a fine place to drink sake, eat chicken wings and visit a simulacrum of South Beach, Sunset Boulevard, the timeless thump-thump-thump of Saturday night on the Vegas strip. It provides direct transport, in other words, to Chodorowland.It's a slightly different story uptown at Ed's:
Up at Ed’s...the vision is fuzzier and the fun not so readily apparent...Ed’s Chowder House is a product of collaboration between Mr. Chodorow and Ed Brown...One wonders, though, how much time he’s spent at Ed’s...There was, one night, something of his style and worth in a terrific dish of smoked Chatham cod cakes with a roasted tomato-chili jam...But none of his delicacy was apparent in other meals — in greasy, overdone fried calamari with saffron aioli, for instance, or in celery-heavy, muddy-hued steamed clams with plonk broth...Did Mr. Brown personally have something to do with the ammonia taste of a particularly elderly wing of skate served with horseradishy mashed potatoes and left untouched on the plate.Ouchie. To close, a lovely analogy: "Professional wrestlers work either as baby-face heroes or evil heels. Mr. Chodorow, glowering, has cast himself as a heel. And he’s riveting. You can’t stop watching the guy, wanting to know what comes next." [NYT]
Jay Cheshes finds a miss or two at Tipsy Parson, but overall he thinks it's charming. It gets three stars: "Wallach isn’t quite breaking out casseroles, but she forgoes effete pretensions for rough-hewn generosity. Her cooking doesn’t always impress, but there’s heart in her food...The food at Tipsy Parson may not rival your Southern grandmother’s cooking, but with the temperature plunging outside, the place makes for an awfully cozy retreat." [TONY]
Gael Greene, a friend of Daniel's, has some nice things to say about the food at the recently revamped Cafe Boulud. But mostly she just likes the quiet of it: "...isn’t a nice healthy dose of stodginess exactly what I crave? How benign it feels tonight, without elevator music or disco fever to drown out the discrete buzz of the well-bred bourgeoisie. I can actually read the menu without a flashlight and gossip across the table without shouting." [Crain's]
The Cuozz is pleasantly surprised that Casa Lever doesn't suck, given is Sant Ambroeus lineage: "...while Casa Lever is anything but cutting-edge, it makes a strong case for what it is: a higher-end, well-oiled Fiat of a restaurant amid racier Ferraris and Lamborghinis, even if some customers wouldn’t be caught dead driving less than a Maserati Quattroporte...Most dishes are made with great integrity." [NYP]
Where others may be put off by the snooty airs, the exclusivity, the expense of London import Le Caprice, Plattypants seems charmed. He gives it two stars: "...after spending the better part of the Great Recession gnawing on burgers in the back rooms of downtown speakeasies, visiting a restaurant that attempts to strike a balance between casual, bistro-style intimacy and old-fashioned uptown grandeur is refreshing. At least that was my thought as I tucked into the first Pavlova I’ve encountered in years..." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Betsy Andrews has a rave for Brooklyn's Henry Public and its burger, Tables for Two thinks that the breakfast items are the better bets at Permanent Brunch, Sietsema recommends the charcuterie at The Vanderbilt in Prospect Heights, like Jay Cheshes, Metromix and Restaurant Girl are mostly charmed by Tipsy Parson, and Alan Richman dissects the wine programs at L'Ecole and Ardesia.
THE BLOGS: The Pink Pig has finds the food a mixed bag at The Breslin, The Skinny Pig has a good meal at Marfa despite a few pitfalls, Immaculate Infatuation thinks Il Buco lives up to the hype, Robert Sietsema learns the pizzas have improved at Keste, The Girl who Ate Everything has a chicken extravaganza at Momofuku Noodle Bar and Pio Pio Salon, Ed Levine gives a B+ to Sigmund Pretzel Shop, BoozyNYC checks in on newcomer Vintry Wine and Whisky, and NY Journal is disappointed with Danny Meyer's Maialino.