This week Sam Sifton awards two stars to Harold Dieterle's new Thai restaurant, his follow up to Perilla down the street, Kin Shop. With the exception of the sad dessert list and a couple of clunker dishes, it's praise all around. The food, the vibe, the wine, the menacing but cravable squid ink soup—all a hit:
Piles of sweet Massaman curry with braised goat sit on some tables, alongside wide stir-fried rice noodles with chicken sausage, broccoli rabe and slick oyster sauce. Here is happiness in a piece of sweet Montauk fluke marinated in kaffir lime, with pomelo, radish and a sauce made of galangal and turmeric: Southeast Asian Suffolk County food, as fresh as morning...He sums it up thusly, "Kin Shop is not a fancy restaurant. Nor is it precisely an ambitious one. It is, simply, a neighborhood gem, serving heat and comfort alike, to great effect." NYT]
...Mr. Dieterle is as Thai as John Boehner. But he cooks from the Thai larder as if he had stepped out of a novel by John Burdett, a farang who can see ghosts, who knows that the mind is Buddha’s seat, who bleeds fish sauce.
Steve Cuozzo awards two stars to Michael White's Osteria Morini. The service and FOH experience could use some work, but most of the food delivers: "Comically gargantuan wild porcini polenta topped with crackling Mascarpone cheese and breadcrumbs ($18, and enough for three) typified the house way with jolly excess -- steaming, oozy, yet only superficially rustic, as calculated in its effect as White's meticulously composed uptown dishes. None of the pasta ($17 to $19 at dinner, $16 to $18 at lunch) poses a challenge to Marea's fusilli with octopus and bone-marrow ragu, but most are a blast." [NYP]
Jay Cheshes gives three out of five stars to Jeffrey Chodorow's latest, Bar Basque: "the menu, a genuine homage to the Basque Country devoid of pretense or gimmick, is simply too soulful for such austere surroundings. Chodorow, once again just missing the mark, has built a party restaurant uncomfortably saddled with serious food." [TONY]
For the second week in a row, the Robs file in place of Adam Platt, awarding four Underground Gourmet stars to Noho hand pulled noodle place Hung Ry: "Despite suspicious amenities like comparatively palatial surroundings, uniformly warm and gracious service, and a well-priced, appealingly offbeat wine list, Hung Ry is serving righteous Lanzhou-style hand-pulled noodles that are as good as any within slinging distance of Confucius Plaza—maybe even better." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Strand files an Under on Tacombi at Fonda Nolita and Cascabel Taqueria, Tables for Two wishes there was more Fillipino food at Umi Nom, but still deems it worth the trek, and Gael Greene isn's won over by the atmosphere of Donatella but enjoys the food and its price.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives an A- to the new John Dory Oyster Bar, while NY Journal is somewhat disappointed, The Pink Pig tries out the small plates and some okay schnitzel at Edi & The Wolf, The Food Doc calls Ai Fiori quite outstanding, Law & Food pops his Di Fara cherry, Life With Food and Drink is blown away by Shea Gallante's Ciano, and The Oyster Blog indulges in caviar, oysters, and champagne at Weather Up Tribeca.