Frank The Tank Bruni files on the upscale "Global Chinese" hotel restaurant Shang, the debut spot from from rockstar Toronto import Susur Lee. He had high hopes for Lee but deems his food unfocused and only worthy of one star:
"...the more arresting visual flourishes are in Mr. Lee’s dishes themselves, many composed in the most kaleidoscopic, ornamental fashion imaginable...Much of the food is busy and unfocused, and I sometimes had a better time gazing than grazing on it...When he edits them down, the results can be intensely pleasurable...Mr. Lee’s kitchen frequently demonstrates real discipline...
Mr. Lee is seldom at a loss for ideas, but there’s a frantic quality to his work. The Singapore slaw, which servers don’t so much recommend as evangelize about, comprised about 20 identifiable ingrediens...but lacked the one thing it needed most: a dressing less cloying and more nuanced than the one applied too liberally to it."The Brunz wraps it up with a killer closer: "Pleasant, but inconsistent and uneventful. The magic that Mr. Lee reputedly made in Toronto hasn’t followed him here."[NYT]
Ryan Sutton thinks L'Artusi's affordability more than makes up for its misplays: "Chef Thompson’s approach to Italian is simple, powerful and generous...Sometimes flavors are too powerful...sometimes things are too salty...But when most everything’s this cheap, I’m willing to cut the place some slack. " [Bloomberg]
Meanwhile Jay Cheshes thinks L'Artusi fails to deliver on its ambitious promises, giving it three of six stars: "L’Artusi is the worst type of price gouger—though the menu indicates a moderate restaurant (dishes max out at $24), another truth emerges when you dine...There’s an earnest, homey quality to some of the other dishes, which might have been endearing if they weren’t so hit-and-miss." [TONY]
The RG declares galette-centric Flatiron newcomer Bar Breton an excellent brunch choice and a middling dinner spot, awarding it three stars: "At Bar Breton, all the savory galettes are good...The only dish that really stands out on the dinner menu is the croquettes de bacalao...As for the rest, the seared scallops bored me to tears, as did the black sea bass and a dried-out duck-leg confit salad. Even the burger was a bore." [NYDN]
Mr. Adam Platt visits the ever-crowded L'Artusi, declares the bar-centric dining trend officially over, and gives it one star: "There are more small pasta plates and more quasi entrées...available at this new, more crowded establishment, but the kitchen feels overstretched and the sense of intimacy that made Dell’anima feel special is gone...After these uneven though generally palatable pastas, however, dinner at L’Artusi grinds slowly off a cliff." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan does a roundup/$25 and Under on African restaurants in Fort Greene, Sietsema has a roundup on where to get Central American pancakes, and Tables for Two has some fun with and at Txikito.
THE BLOGS: Writing with My Mouth Full has a rave for Market Table, NY Journal found nothing wrong with Trigo but wouldn't go out of the way for it, Ed Levine reviews sandwiches at Craft, Gramercy Tavern, and Txikito, Amateur Gourmet has a comic strip review of Dirt Candy, and Cleaned My Plate tries neighborhood newcomer Lusso.