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Week in Reviews: Fishtail Gets a One

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Krieger, 12/01/08

Frank 'the Matador' Bruni sees what the flamboyant chef David Burke, he of the cheesecake lollipop and Hawaiian Tropic Zone, is up to at his new sustainable seafood emporium, Fishtail. The exuberance and silliness of the kitchen yield some big winners as well as some major flops, earning the restaurant one star:

"...there’s some lovely fish under the menu heading of 'Today’s Whole Fish & Simple Fish,' which signals that the saucing in these dishes is at least somewhat less likely to get out of hand...some of the games Mr. Burke plays elsewhere on the menu are tempered ones with happy payoffs...
...But under the first executive chef, Eric Hara, and under his successor, John Tesar, the kitchen turned out plenty of clunkers: mealy octopus; a lobster carbonara with bits of bacon as hard as pellets...It’s through the prism of these miscues that all the cartwheels the kitchen insists on turning can seem as exasperating as amusing."
[NYT]

Jay Cheshes files on Scuderia and Da Silvano Bisteca, giving three stars to the former and two to the latter: "The minimalist mains by Claudio Cristofoli (Cipriani Downtown) are satisfying— and reasonable— enough if you happen to be in the 'hood, but not worth making a special trip for...The restaurant makes up for its culinary shortcomings with a playful sense of humor...If only some of that warmth could make its way to Papa's unfortunate steakhouse across the avenue." [TONY]

Alan Richman checks in on an old favorite of his, Celeste, on the Upper West Side: "Celeste is not exactly great, but it is a wonderful trattoria, one of my favorite places to eat in New York and the first place I send visitors from out-of-town who aren’t looking for three-star dining...Carmine is a near-genius with wine and cheese." [GQ]

Like the Platt, the RG files on Hudson Square's farflung, nautically themed restaurant Harbour. She also gets mixed results, awarding it three stars: "By far, the best deal and dish at Harbour is an entrée of Maine mussels. It has everything going for it...But there's a few too many highs and lows here. The lobster salad was sorely overdressed in ginger mayonnaise and lobster oil." [NYDN]

Plattypants files on the nautically themed and poorly located newcomer Harbour. The cooking earns two stars, but this kind of restaurant has no place in the recession: "Are people rushing to Harbour to get a taste of this artsy, accomplished cooking? Not on the evenings I dropped in. Should the kitchen start serving three-star lobster rolls or sustainable salmon burgers? Probably." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Tables for Two gets a visit from Susur Lee at Shang, Dave Cook approves of the pho at An Choi, Betsy Andrews finds hefty cooking and inspired cocktails at the East Village's JoeDoe, Ryan Sutton is incredibly disappointed by the offerings at the new Yankee Stadium, Sarah DiGregorio tries some inventive noodles at ZuZu Ramen in Park Slope, and Robert Sietsema heads all the way to Newark to try the marisqueira Sol Mar.

THE BLOGS: Salli Vates likes Kambi better than Ippudo, while The Hungry Roach is wowed by Rockmeisha, NYC Foodie has a brief mixed review on L'Artusi, Writing with my Mouth Full finds Perilla nice, cozy, safe, Ed Levine gives Trestle on Tenth a B+, and Food and Things has a great lunch at the UWS Ducale.

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