Sam Sifton heads to Koreatown this week to file on Madangsui, the self-proclaimed and now Sifton-confirmed 'Best Korean Restaurant in Manhattan.' It may not look like much, but it earns a onespot:
Madangsui is not much to look at...The clientele runs to groups of celebratory young Koreans texting as they eat, office parties and passers-by from local hotels; it is hardly a clear picture of fine dining in New York. But jiminy crickets, is the dining fine...
...The barbecue is excellent: fresh, glistening butterflied short rib, thin-sliced ribeye, brisket, tongue. There is pork belly and there are giant mushrooms; there are jumbo shrimp. Some meats are served plain...Others are served in marinades, in either a soy-based, fruit-thickened number that is almost reminiscent of teriyaki or a garlicky take on kochujang that tingles in the mouth, leads to sweat and more laughter. It is particularly good on pork. Best, perhaps, is the plain butterflied short rib known as saeng galbi...
And since Marea's ricci is like "kissing an extremely attractive person for the first time," Madangsui's wakame with sweet vinegar is "a kiss in a rock club, right after the show." So much kissing, this guy! He also mentions that while the service is brisk, if the diner sets the pace by ordering in waves—most appetizers are wonderful—all will be good. Even the dessert of a sliced orange, which "tastes of magic and happiness." [NYT]
The Cuozz finds the food at London import Le Caprice middling, the service cold, and the clientele amusing: "Unless you’re an ocean-hopping regular at Caprice Holdings’ celebrity-full London joints, forget about Twittering epiphanies from this beautiful, boring, restaurant any time soon...Le Caprice blows away memories of the stuffy old Café Pierre. But the streamlined iconography, sweetened with 1960s David Bailey photos of Jean Shrimpton in Manhattan, is where the warmth ends." [NYP]
Sifton also files on the sister to Little Giant, The Tipsy Parson. He is not a fan: "The food’s not great. It’s small-town restaurant fare...strip steak ($30) is leathery and dry, reminiscent of shoe. Day boat scallops ($24) are rubbery, tasteless. Spicy lamb ribs...are neither particularly spicy nor even really identifiably lamb, and overcooked to boot...Tipsy Parson just isn’t happening right now." [NYT]
Alan Richman isn't sure how New Yorkers will embrace the heavy, British fare at the Breslin (especially at lunch and brunch), but he likes it just the same: "Her take on Caesar salad is sublime...The pig’s foot for two, at $36, is the bargain of the house—it seems to consist of overwhelmingly rich pork meatloaf stuffed into a crunchy, crazy, hog-leg casing." [GQ]
THE ELSEWHERE: Sam Sifton calls Yun Nan Flavour Snack in Sunset Park one of the city's treasures, Gael Greene has some small plates at the Pierre's bar/lounge Two E, both Jay Cheshes and Ryan Sutton have raves for the revamped Cafe Boulud, Tables for Two finds some sublime, juicy hot dogs at Bark Hot Dogs, Robert Sietsema has a mixed bag for Tribeca's Trattoria Cinque, and while Sarah DiGregorio finds vital misplays at the Tipsy Parson.
THE BLOGS: Writing with my Mouth Full follows Chang and Bourdain to Queens' Sik Gaek Restaurant, Ed Levine gives an A to the lunch deal at Del Posto, NY Journal has some excellent sides and starters but bellyflops for mains at Tipsy Parson, The Pink Pig thinks Scott Bryan has brought Apiary to new heights, and A Tiger in the Kitchen finds the food at The Breslin delicious but much too heavy and fatty.