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Week in Reviews: Oak Room Gets a One

Horine, 10/28/08

In an unexpected but not undeserved one star review, Frank the Matador finds the redo of Plaza Hotel's Oak Rom beautiful but unreliable. Some dinners merit the high check; others fall flat:

"It has been meticulously and gorgeously restored. An acclaimed French-born chef was recruited to supervise the kitchen. And those developments combined, on the best of the nights when I dined there, to produce a lovely experience of a rarefied sort...But on other nights I had meals stippled with disappointment...Seldom have I had so many black truffle shavings thrown at me to so little effect...
I’d recommend the Oak Room for anyone intent on an inimitable atmosphere and a baronial sense of splurge and who is willing to risk a forgettable, or even frustrating, meal...But for anyone seeking relatively firm assurance that a serious tab will mean serious pleasure, the Oak Room won’t do. It’s more looker than performer."

Alan Richman puts newcomers Co. and Motorino in a pizza face off. He finds a pizza after his own heart at Jim Lahey's Co.: "Co. sends out precisely my kind of pies: supple and thin, chewy and charred, with little in the way of a poufy outer crust...Motorino’s Margherita DOC pizza—buffalo mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil—is a soggy mess...But please don’t get me wrong: Both taste good, really good..." [GQ]

Ryan Sutton decides there's nothing really wrong with Susur Lee's new venture, Shang, but there's nothing great about it either: "Some New Yorkers have long hoped for a great, high-end Chinese restaurant. Shang is not that restaurant...Shang is about as exciting as Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, which is to say not very." [Bloomberg]

Meanwhile, The RG deems Shang too clever and gives it two stars: "Too many dishes on this menu taste like cleverness...And somehow, Lee's cleverness is always undermining the protein...if you order the slow-cooked pork belly, you don't expect the best thing on your plate to be the lily bulb and apple puree." [NYDN]

Though the Plattster finds Shang's location (in the middle of the LES) too "far off the beaten track," its look too prosaic, he likes enough of Susur Lee's Chinese fusion to give it two stars: "There’s an overworked, almost nostalgic Asian-fusion quality to the menu at Shang, which means that some dishes succeed and others do not, but also that dinner is rarely’s refreshing to see the arrival of an experienced and talented chef who’s not afraid to reach for the stars." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Jay Cheshes finds the art more stunning than the food at 10 Downing, Oliver Schwaner-Albright discovers excellent and vibrant Indian at Lexington Avenue's Dhaba, Sarah DiGregorio becomes yet another critic to like the vegetarian Dirt Candy, Sietsema mostly likes Salumeria Rosi, and Tables For Two deems the minuscule Graffiti very au courant and delicious.

THE BLOGS: Writing with my Mouth Full tries the soba at Soba Totto, Cleaned My Plate has horrific service but excellent food at newcomer Trigo, Applesauce deems Co. okay but not worth an hour wait, Gotham Gal likes most of what she tries at Double Crown, Salli Vates is impressed by FiDi newcomer Onda, and Feisty Foodie tries Menchanko-Tei.


230 9th Ave, Manhattan, NY 10001 (212) 243-1105 Visit Website

Dirt Candy

86 Allen Street, Manhattan, NY 10002 (212) 228-7732 Visit Website

Salumeria Rosi

283 Amsterdam Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10023 (212) 877-4800 Visit Website

10 Downing Food and Wine

10 Downing Street, New York, NY 10014 212-255-0300

The Oak Room at The Plaza Hotel

10 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019 (212) 758-7777 Visit Website


510 Columbus Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10024 (917) 675-7581 Visit Website