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Sam Sifton's 2nd Goose Egg Goes to Le Caprice

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Today, after three months of reviews, Sam Sifton finally breaks the seal and launches a big, fat goose egg in the direction of snooty, clubby London import Le Caprice. UPDATE: Just kidding! He obviously gave his first goose egg to Jeffrey Chodorow! We promise not to get on the blog before morning coffee ever ever again. Thanksbye.

He rates her "Fair." The menu is "nursery food with colonial accents," reservations are absurdly hard to come by, and the scene just doesn't compare to the witty, eccentric, and glamorous mix found across the pond. He likes the steak, the smoked haddock tart, but let's get to the part everyone's waiting for:

The fish and chips...aren’t bad at all. But boy, the chopped steak sure is: awful gray, flavorless patties of the sort known in the New York City public schools as murder burgers (best with suicide fries). These are accompanied by a tomato relish of no particular distinction. The dish costs $24. It’s worth none of them.

Similarly lame is an appetizer of foie gras served with caramelized apples...Bang bang chicken is an English interpretation of Sichuan cooking...Too sweet, too gooey, too cold — it fails to impress....Salmon fishcakes are bland and more warm than hot; they taste of cafeteria eating and boarding-school shame.

Over on the blog, Sifty's asking readers to weigh in on other similarly clubby, and sometimes disappointing, restaurants around town. [NYT]

Alan Richman is surprised that he likes the food at Casa Lever: "...a meal at Casa Lever can be surprisingly enjoyable. I can only imagine how wonderful the restaurant might be were it not required by tradition to serve the two dullest dishes of Italy, Risotto Milanese (here called zafferano) and Cotoletta Milanese...skip both of those signature dishes—the first is almost never made well enough, while the second is nearly inedible even when prepared to perfection." [GQ]

Robert Sietsema learns that the second location of Katsuahama serves pork cutlet that is just as delicious as the original: "For better or worse (usually better), the menu has been vastly expanded as befits the restaurant's new identity as an izakaya...the pristine and humongous pork cutlets remain the center of attention, and you'd be crazy to eat at Katsuhama without copping one. You can choose either the loin or the tenderloin...Both arrive crumb-crusted and done to a turn by cooks who treat frying as a religion." [VV]

Though he worries for his waistline, Adam Platt is enamored with April Bloomfield's cooking at The Breslin, giving it two stars: "By the time the entrées roll around, this unrelenting accumulation of richness can have a numbing effect...When parceled out in smaller doses, however, many of Bloomfield’s meaty creations are worth the price of admission...The braised beef shin...and the 'vinegar' chicken...are dissertations on the pleasures of umami." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Nick Fox files an Under on Upper East Side Sichuan spot Szechuan Chalet, Gael Greene checks up on Sifton by trying out a recent one star, Imperial Palace in Flushing, Sarah DiGregorio and Jay Cheshes have raves for Maialino, and Tables for Two finds the menu hit or miss at Piccola Cucina in Soho.

THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives a B+ to 'inoteca spinoff Corsino, NY Journal has a fine pre-theater meal at Osteria del Circo, The Food Doc doesn't think Eleven Madison Park is a four star restaurant, A Tiger in the Kitchen gets some raw poultry at Colicchio & Sons, Goodies First tries the new Arby's in the old Gage & Tollner's space, the Pink Pig has some winners and some disappointments at Aldea, and Life with Food and Drink's mind is blown at Daniel.
[photo credit]

Casa Lever

390 Park Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10022 (212) 888-2700 Visit Website

Le Caprice

2 East 61st Street, New York, NY 10065 Visit Website

Maialino

2 Lexington Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10010 (212) 777-2410 Visit Website

Le Caprice

795 5th Ave., New York, NY

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