Sam Sifton heads back to the outer boroughs this week, filing on Fillipino/pan-Asian spot Purple Yam way out in Ditmas Park. He gives it one star and declares it the perfect neighborhood restaurant:
Purple Yam is not precisely Filipino. Mr. Dorotan’s vision is too wide for such easy characterization. At Cendrillon, he used the Philippines as a point of reference for his cooking — Malay by nature, Chinese and Hispanic by curious nurture — and added European flavors to it. At Purple Yam, the menu has those old favorites but also looks widely across Asia for inspiration, most notably toward Korea...As at Cendrillon, the result is more than the sum of its parts...It may be a neighborhood spot, but it's worth the trip on the Q train. [NYT]
...There are date-night renters at the bar, kids from Ocean Avenue flats sharing an entree and a beer; local home-owning families eating out with neighbors; Filipinos who’ve driven in from other parts of bedroom Brooklyn; a few bewildered travelers off the Q train.
The menu is studded with the sort of offerings that inspire craving. (Cravings are a key component to a successful neighborhood restaurant.)
Jay Cheshses files an angry review of the exclusive, disappointing, and bland Le Cparice: "What could a British homage to New York possibly contribute to the dining landscape? The answer: not much. Nonetheless, a certain subset of the city’s power elite has rushed to embrace this extraneous relic...And that seems to be precisely what the owners are after...The bland, innocuous grub—country-club cooking with an Anglo spin—seems designed mostly not to offend." [TONY]
Tables for Two is mostly charmed by the work of a 23 year-old American at Sushi Uo: "His restaurant doesn’t provide the almost intimidating flawlessness of the best midtown sushi temples, but its food’s quality is consistently higher than that of almost any comparably priced establishment and far removed from that of ordinary neighborhood joints..." [New Yorker]
Alan Richman is quite taken by the food in the bar at Maialino, even though he detests bar food dining: "Not only do I like the food at Maialino’s bar more than I like the food at any of his other bars, it might be my favorite bar food in New York. There’s a dish, available both times I ate there, that’s one of the most perfect fish dishes I tried all year...It breaks every rule I have for bar dining, which is that the food should be soothing and simple, relaxing and recognizable. The dish, an off-the-menu special, is swordfish belly." [GQ]
Sietsema offers a tantalizing write up of Sonali Cuisine, a Bangladeshi cafe in Sunnyside: "The Sonali premises may be tiny—just a couple of unadorned tables, a counter, and a door leading into the kitchen—but the flavors are big, big, big."
THE BLOGS: Life with Food and Drink is an immediate fan of Holey Cream in Hell's Kitchen, Fork in the Road finds the flavors at the Cake Club, a unusual dessert concept held in a Chinatown apartment, truly inspired, The Food Doc finds the food better than the setting at Via Emilia, EateryRow sums up the best and worst meals of the year, Burger Club NY drops a review of the big, spicy, and juicy burger at Bonnie's Grill, and Goodies First checks out the situation at the newly opened Baoguette in FiDi.