The Brun Monster hits up lamb and meatball factory Kefi on the Upper West Side this weekand gives it an underwhelmed one star. He wants to love Kefi for its value, its darling owners, its perfect fit into the neighborhood. But the dishes are too salty, overpowering, bullying:
"...the chef at Kefi, Michael Psilakis, is a seriously talented Greek cook. But at this restaurant, he too frequently goes overboard, in terms of what he throws at a dish and how much of it he tosses around. It’s messy, obvious cooking, wholly unlike his work at Anthos and mostly unlike his work at Mia Dona, where the food I had occasionally veered in this direction but usually pulled back in the nick of time...
I admire him. That may seem an odd non sequitur, but whatever Kefi’s weaknesses — and it has strengths, too, to be discussed shortly — it’s a restaurant that’s a levelheaded, vanity-purged response to the current economy and to diners’ appetites for comforting, affordable food."[NYT]
Ryan Sutton loves the food in La Fonda Del Sol's dining room, not the tapas by the bar: "I had a bad craving for suckling pig. Could I have a little swine at the bar instead of in the dining room? Nope...Instead, I had to make do with underseasoned chorizo soup, soggy, fatty chicken wings and even soggier tomato bread. Avoid the gelatinous, under-rendered short ribs..." [Bloomberg]
Jay Cheshes is even less forgiving of Josh DeChellis' misses at La Fonda Del Sol: "...cocktails, not food, appear to be the draw in the front lounge. Probably a good thing, given how unsatisfying I found so many of the bar snacks to be...But the menu inconsistencies are, sadly, echoed in both rooms...While oxtail sopa seca is a delicious starter...a suckling-pig entrée is simply wan." [TONY]
The RG checks out the latest iteration of Casa La Femme in the West Village. The decor (and to some degree, the food) earns three stars: "I’ve now eaten at all three Casa La Femmes, and I like the newest location, 140 Charles St., the best...The new Casa La Femme looks like honest exoticism...though you can’t eat decor or the belly dancers, they both make the food taste a little better." [NYDN]
Though unassuming and charming restaurants may be more appealing now than they were when Brian Bistrong's Braeburn opened in October, Platt seems to agree with all the critics before him. It's not great, it's not terrible, and it deserves one star: "Braeburn isn’t a particularly ambitious restaurant...but none of the items my little band of tasters and I sampled was bad, and many of them were quite good." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Betsy Andrews files an Under on Defonte's and Lamazou, Tables for Two has some hits and misses at Buttermilk Channel but deems it of and for the neighborhood, Sietsema seems to agree and is one of the first to criticize Buttermilk Channel's fried chicken, and Alan Richman has an ode to Raoul's (but not its back room).
THE BLOGS: Max Silvestri hits up La Superior for the Decider, Lifestyle of a Yuppie finds Daniel well worth the price, Salli Vates wishes Inakaya would tone down the prices and the theatrics, Always Hungry finds some hits and misses at Kefi, Easy Ed gives a B+ to Pizza Mezzuluna on West Houston St., and Adam Kuban realizes La Villa's pizzas are great in the restaurant, but terrible for take-out.