This week Frankie Boom Boom files on the erotically charged Tribeca hotspot Macao Trading Co., giving it one star. The food gets a big "meh". As for the scene, it's confusing, fun, "clownish":
"One of my companions put it best. 'This,' he said as he alternated between bites of a putatively Portuguese meatball (lamb) and of a Chinese one (pork), 'is a deeply silly restaurant.'
That’s what makes it sort of fun, and that’s what keeps it from being anything more than that. In the right mood, with the right stretch of the menu, lubricated by the right cocktails, and with the right tolerance for ear-decimating decibels, you can definitely enjoy Macao, in a minor way..."
As for the food, the Brunz points out what you should eat—chicken dumplings in chili oil, prawns, Portuguese-style mushrooms, and bacalao fried rice—and what you shouldn't—Portuguese-style whole black bass, the stir-fried lobster. And from the slideshow: "This is a place that I think, if you are really going out for food, is best skipped, because you can do better." [NYT]
There are a few standouts, but Ryan Sutton is not won over by Armani Ristorante: "I doubt he’s paid much attention at all to New York’s culinary scene; otherwise he wouldn’t have created such a laughably behind-the-times joint...Raw flour was visible inside our gnocchi, so undersauced you could pick each one up without wetting your fingers..." [Bloomberg]
Jay Cheshes heads to the perhaps cursed Compass on the UWS and warns us all that we shouldn't bother doing the same: "On paper, dishes are as ambitious as the restaurant's wine list—a portentous tome with many rare and exorbitant bottles—but the dated presentations and clunky cooking made me think mostly of bad cruise-ship fare." [TONY]
The RG dons her jeans and visits Le Cirque's more casual lounge, giving it three stars: "What's so great about the lounge is that you can get so many of the dishes that are also served in the dining room. Those are the ones you want to order...But how do you mess up fried calamari or chicken paillard or lobster consommé? Somehow, Hopson manages to..." [NYDN]
This week the Plattster files a twofer on casual newcomers Bar Breton and Txikito, giving them each a onespot. The non-galette menu at the former "tends to veer unsteadily between proficiently rendered bistro favorites and a high-minded Frenchman’s somewhat tortured idea of what nouveau-casual food should be." Meanwhile the offerings at Txikito are "impressively diverse without being overstuffed..." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan writes a hummus round up for the Under this week, Tables for Two tries out the strange but sometimes impressive Lulu's in Soho, Sarah DiGregorio has some delicious fish and chips at Butcher Bay, while Robert Sietsema discovers the perfect date dish at 10 Downing, Alan Richman thinks Buttermilk Channel is for 12 year-olds, and Ruth Reichl and Francis Lam file on Insieme, Tabla, and Damon: Frugal Fridays.
THE BLOGS: Cleaned My Plate likes most of the pies at Co., Writing with my Mouth Full puts Mr. Jones on Deathwatch, Ed Levine deems everything at Halfsteak half as good as Craftsteak, giving it a B+ - C grade, and Lifestyle of a Yuppie has a great meal at Da Andrea.