This morning, Sam Sifton awards one star to Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield's The Breslin, a heavy two and a half month old gastropub in the Ace Hotel. As usual, the Siftonator uses romance as a rubric here. But instead of comparing food to kissing, as he's done in the past, now the Breslin is a date he doesn't want to end. And later, when the pure heaviness of the menu and the 3 AM meat sweats kick in, he wants to see other people:
This is the Breslin on a Thursday night, a warm, crowded and vaguely British barroom off the lobby of the Ace Hotel: a bedlam of gastrotourists and scenemakers. It’s Hogwarts for hipsters. It is also the Breslin on a Saturday night, and on a Tuesday night, whenever you come in the door in darkness and hunger...the restaurant is almost perpetually jammed.
...Nowhere in New York right now is the fetish for pork fat and dairy flavor more on display. April Bloomfield, the chef and an owner, is exhausting gallbladders nightly...There is a marvelous Caesar salad: an herbed-up version with anchovy croutons. And a rich, salty mussel soup with curry butter. It tastes like a date you don’t want to end.
Then come the meat sweats (and possibly...the shits):
The Breslin is the sort of restaurant you end up thinking about a lot, not always pleasantly, staring up at the ceiling at 3 in the morning in cold sweat and mild panic. Yes, the food is good. But it is monochromatically good: it is 10 colors of fat...It would be death to be a regular there.[NYT]
Meanwhile Ryan Sutton seems enamored with the place, giving it two stars instead of three only because of the three hour wait: "This is courageous, offal-heavy grub for this part of town...A smoked pork belly for two ($50) needs nothing else. It’s a foot long, sweet and caramelized on the outside, and loaded with jiggly, melt-in- your-mouth fat." [Bloomberg]
Given it's a Danny Meyer restaurant, Plattypants expects to be won over by Maialino. And well, he is, giving her a threespot: "Anderer is from Manhattan, not Lazio, but he has a ventriloquist’s knack for soaking up the spare, earthy vocabulary of casual Roman restaurant cooking and reproducing it, more or less exactly, on the plate. At least that was my impression as I spooned in bites of properly funky 'trippa alla Trasteverina'..." [NYM]
In his call to save old timer Gino, Alan Richman compares himself to a child who has abandoned his frail parents, "finally rushing to their side repentantly after learning that they are on their deathbed." His Gino tribute: "Gino is from a time when New York restaurants didn’t try to become either glittery palaces or furtive joints with their names intentionally left off the door. They were just there. Gino is part of the fabric of its neighborhood...Italian-American restaurants offer nostalgia, history, hominess, and pleasure. They deserve a wing in the Smithsonian." [GQ]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Cuozz discovers that Robert, the new restaurant atop the Museum of Arts & Design, has the best views in the city, Robert Sietsema counts himself as another fan of The Breslin, Julia Moskin files a brief on Bar Pleiades and Ardesia, Tables for Two is charmed by Tipsy Parson, but finds the food to be a mixed bag, The Brooklyn Paper fawns over the pastrami brisket sandwich at David's Brisket House, Jay Cheshes gives four out of five stars to The Purple Yam, Sarah DiGregorio finds killer starters and a mixed bag of mains at Scottish newcomer Highlands, and Gael Greene gets high off of Cascabel Taqueria.
THE BLOGS: Immaculate Infatuation thinks Raoul's is the shit, The Pink Pig finds Le Caprice to be a very good British import, The Young and Hungry finds great food at reasonable prices at Po, Eating In Translation finds tasty tacos at Choncho's Tacos, New York Journal eats an overpriced burger at "21" Club, and Ed Levine gives three different grades to Dos Toros.