Frank the Matador drops a big fat goose egg on The Cooper Square Hotel and celeb chef Govind Armstrong's Table 8 this morning, in what is most likely his final slam as food critic for the New York Times. It's the noise, the food, the hidden bathroom, but mostly it's the whole idea of the place that gets on the Bruni's nerves:
The people behind Table 8 have given too little thought to logistics and comfort. They were inattentive when they put the place together, and they’re inattentive still. The acoustics are insane, the absurdly narrow lanes of foot traffic clog, the bread isn’t reliably fresh and the filet mignon on a recent night had the stringy texture and stew-y taste of something that would only barely pass muster on a tray table in coach...
...But even during this, the best of my meals at Table 8, I was struck by how overworked and overdressed many dishes were. A deep puddle of excess liquid was left behind once the grilled octopus with celery heart salad, tomato and Moroccan olives was gone, and a similar puddle outlasted duck sausage with grilled radicchio...Let's go out on a final Brundog zinger: "Another pasta was even worse: a gluey clump of linguine with a combination of ricotta and lemon that might as well have been Elmer’s and Pledge." [NYT]
He doesn't expect much, but after a meal at 3rd Ave.'s The Smith, Robert Sietsema declares it one of the better gastropubs in town: "...the Smith might be our most perfect gastropub yet. Lumbering in one evening to grab a bite before seeing Camera Obscura at Webster Hall, I didn't expect much. But the pork sandwich ($13) proved so compelling that I stayed and missed the opening act." [VV]
The RG heads to Carroll Gardens to try out the latest at Prime Meats, giving it three stars: "There's too much talk about burgers these days, but the one at Prime Meats deserves air time...There are some remarkable salads on the menu, like a Bibb lettuce salad dressed in pumpkinseed oil and a bacon-blessed farm salad...Don't miss the spaetzles..." [NYDN]
Plattypants becomes the latest critic to note that Locanda Verde is way better than Ago. He gives Carms two stars: "...the pastas are a surprisingly mixed bag...but everyone gave thumbs-up to the thick, delicately fatty slab of rabbit terrine...This kind of crowd-pleasing cooking isn’t designed to win culinary awards, of course. It’s designed to promote a good time in a casually stylish, relatively economical way." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Bruni finds a beautiful space but an uneven performance at Williamsburg's Vutera, Julia Moskin discovers some of the best Malaysian food in Manhattan at Laut, Jay Cheshes awards four stars to Locanda Verde, Gael Greene files a rave for FiDi's Sho Shaun Hergatt, Sarah DiGregorio is won over by DBGB, while Ryan Sutton is not wowed by The Blue Parrot and Surf Lodge in the Hamptons, TONY gives four out of five stars to Williamsburg's Rye, and Tables for Two is surprised to find levity, deliciousness at Seasonal.
THE BLOGS: Sarah DiGregorio finds the food at Sho Shaun Hergatt great but a little pricey, The Hungry Roach has a rave for The Mott, Goodies First has some misses at Cowgirl Seahorse, and NY Journal reveals that East 4th Street's Perbacco still deserves its two stars.