Mr. Frank Bruni returns to the site of a fateful June '08 Goose Egg to assess the new tenant, Andrew Carmellini's Locanda Verde. Carms is finally getting the attention he deserves, but the food isn't necessarily his best. It's a deuce:
"Locanda Verde doesn’t amount to the exactly right situation or perfect fit for him. It’s not the Carmellini restaurant that many of us have been waiting and hoping for, though it has plenty to recommend it...
...to go with the restrained prices there’s a casual mood — too casual at times...This is nonetheless a serious restaurant, so vastly superior to Ago that it’s sacrilegious even to mention the two in the same sentence."
What's improved: the wine, the decor, the dessert, and far and away, the food. It's great, but here's why it doesn't get the three: "Mr. Carmellini isn’t bringing the same precision to dishes here that he did at A Voce. He isn’t yet hitting his stride...His amble beats the impatient sprints of some of the upstarts around town." [NYT]
The RG is the latest to try out Michael White's Central Park South seafood emporium Marea. She gives it four stars: "Ever slurped the sea?...I imagine it would taste like the seafood stew, called brodetto di pesce, at Marea...It's a $45 bowl of soup, one of those outlandish purchases you're certain you'll regret. But it was the best soup I've had in years and could be an entree for two." [NYDN]
The Cuozz declares Sho Shaun Hergatt to have some of the most original dishes south of Columbus Circle: "SHO Shaun Hergatt might have opened a year too late. But so did Corton and Mare...Get there now before it's done in by hard times -- or until, let's hope, it becomes too hot to get in at any time." [NYP]
Ryan Sutton likes DBGB just fine but doesn't appreciate the different dining and bar room menus: "That’s absurd, considering the French chef allows bar diners to order from the entire menu at Daniel...Want a Tunisian lamb dog? The bar room served my juicy link on a dry, somewhat stale bun. The dining room plates it differently -- with chickpeas and braised spinach, imparting a moister mouthfeel." [Bloomberg]
THE ELSEWHERE: Alan Richman meets Pam Grier (and enjoys plenty of sausages) at DBGB, Tables for Two finds some success in the adventurous dishes at Harbor, Gael Greene enjoys a junk food feast at Gus & Gabriel and the restaurant week prix fixe at Del Posto, Jay Cheshes files a rave of Aldea, Dave Cook looks for Venezuelan patacones for the $25 and Under, and Sietsema finds wild inconsistencies at Greenpoint's Anella
THE BLOGS: A Tiger in the Kitchen deems Cowgirl Sea-Horse well worth a visit, Ed Levine gives an A to some street cart, Fork in the Road tries the new Mantau Chinese Sandwiches, NY Journal has a misunderstanding at Daisy May's, and the Pink Pig likes the pricey little sandwiches at Num Pang.