It appears that all the critics decided to band together this week and review David Bouley's remake of his flagship this week. Gourmet, The Cuozz, Jay Cheshes, and the big kahuna here all file raves on the new Bouley at 163 Duane St. For his part, Frank reinstates his 3 star assessment of five years past:
"...the curious silence surrounding the transplanted Bouley doesn’t indicate a slipshod redo or botched job like Secession...In fact the new Bouley is a labor of obvious and obsessive love, its décor preferable to that of the old Bouley..."
"...In an era when the trend in restaurants is toward sleek minimalism, Bouley is a thrilling blast from the gaudy past, a reminder of how much pleasure can be had just from being tucked into such opulent chambers and attended with such formal manners."As for the food, he sums that up well in the audio slideshow: "It's certainly distinguished food. It's not the best food he's cooked...but it is a classically sumptuous feast and the best of the stuff is great." [NYT]
Frank Bruni weighs in on the re-do of Grayz, Atria: "his Asian-accented Continental food ('modern European,' Atria calls it) is getting better all the time...It’s a catchy experiment in Japanese-Mexican fusion, but perhaps not enough to fill scores of seats in a rambling space that was rigged for headier times..." [NYT]
The Cuozz loves the new Bouley even more than the Brunz: "It isn't the 'Bouley' his passionate older devotees might have wanted, but it's the best since his first one, and accidentally for a place that was years in the making sinfully comforting in a precarious time....its seamless harmony of flavor and fantasy feels just right for the waning, anguished '00s." [NYP]
The RG checks out Harlem's Chez Lucienne this week, deems it a welcome neighborhood fixture, and awards it two stars: "It's also a sense of déjÃ vu — the feeling that you've just stumbled into a place where you want to order a drink and look at the menu. French music, French accents — not the Inspector Clouseau type — bow ties, homemade terrines and honest bistro prices." [NYDN]
In the Plattster's stead, the Robs file a twofer on the very new location of sandwich shop Defonte's (two UG stars) and the quite old Avenue B deli, Sunny & Annies (one UG star). They mostly focus on the former: "the satisfying, neatly constructed whole is invariably greater than the sum of its parts. One exception: No. 29...a minor blip for a place that seems to be firing on all meat-slicing, jus-dipping, sauce-ladling cylinders." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Schwaner-Albright finds the food worth the wait at Brooklyn's Vinegar Hill House, despite some service flubs, Jay Cheshes is another fan of Bouley, giving it four of six stars, Sarah DiGregorio finds her first true izakakya in Brooklyn, Qoo Robata, while Sietsema hits up an izakaya, Rockmeisha, right in the West Village, and Tables For Two's Lauren Collins approves of Corton.
THE BLOGS: Easy Ed gives an A- to the lunch menu and takeout at Socarrat, Always Hungry checks out Convivio, Cleaned my Plate has trouble appreciating Scott Bryan's food over the din and bad service at Apiary, Sarah DiGregorio gets her roast pig fix at El Bohio Restaurant in Sunset Park, the paella at Socarrat reminds Lifestyle of a Yuppie of soy sauce fried rice, and Writing with my Mouth Full approves of the quality and attention to detail at Kyo-Ya.