Sifton skips the big starred review this week to take a tour around Vancouver. But the Times still rolls out plenty of fodder for today's review roundup. First up, Sam Sifton's Brief on Aretsky’s Patroon, the Midtown restaurant for the "modern American Mad Men":
Grilled smoked prawns, with roasted tomato vinaigrette and a pillow of mâche ($19), are as close to a good cigar as you’re going to find in a foodstuff. And a huge special of aged porterhouse for two ($115), served on the bone and carved by a captain as if it were Thanksgiving in Steaktown, is excellent from crust to bloody center. It’s a sign that the old boy has a little life in him yet.Sifty's not done yet. His take on Flushing's A Taste of Shanghai:
You can get good pork chops in sticky-sweet sauce. The Shanghai fried rice is excellent. But the main reason to come, to travel some distance with desire pulsing in your stomach, is to eat a dish with a prosaic name: braised pork shoulder in brown sauce ($8.95)...a fat little picnic ham, on the bone, in the skin, cooked to a trembling finish in a thick, sweet, star-anised brown sauce that cloaks the meat as if in velvet...[NYT]
Ligaya Mishan files a rave of an Under on the East Village's Northern Spy Food Co: "The menu reads like a roster of favorite snacks and midnight feasts, albeit executed with a precision honed in high-end kitchens. Mr. Foot has done time in fine dining, but seems to have a soft spot for down-home cooking...The 'eat local' ethos is by now a familiar stance to New York diners. Refreshingly, Northern Spy doesn’t make a fetish of its carefully sourced ingredients." [NYT]
Alan Richman finds some standouts at Bushwick's Roberta's but points out there is much room for improvement: "Roberta’s flawlessly echoes the pioneering spirit of Bushwick—both the neighborhood and the restaurant remain startlingly fundamental, works-in-progress...Braised lamb breast was wonderfully tasty, fatty enough to taste like lamb belly...Duck-fat fingerling potatoes were overcooked...Skip the braised venison with cavatelli pasta, which tasted like nothing more than those two ingredients plopped down in a bowl." [GQ]
In Adam Platts' stead, the Robs file on locavore, mostly vegetarian, no frills, hippie Greenpoint hangout Eat, giving it two Underground Gourmet stars: "...a common theme emerges: beans, greens, grains, and roots adorned with an egg here, a scoop of yogurt there, the politically correct output of contented free-range birds and grass-fed cows. You could argue that it’s barely cooking, but Colón might take that as a compliment." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Sarah DiGregorio has lunch at Despana and Torrisi Italian Specialties, Tables for Two thinks the famous sauce at Le Relais de Venise overwhelms the meat, Sietsema is pleasantly surprised by the southern Indian cooking at New Jersey's Sapthagiri, Oliver Strand finds the feijoada at Williamsburg's Beco "big enough for two, but too tasty to share", Gale Greene finds some standouts and some big flops at the new Colicchio & Sons, Cuozz is impressed with the reliability and the value at two year-old Mia Dona and 30 year-old La Mangeoire, Jay Cheshes gives three out of five stars to Roman's in Fort Greene, and Metromix hopes El Ay Si in L.I.C. can troubleshoot its weak spots.
THE BLOGS: Immaculate Infatuation finds a lot to like at Sorella, Goodies First discovers a weird atmosphere and awesome chicken at the new Fidi Bon Chon Chicken, Ed Levine gives an A to Colicchio & Sons, The Hungry Roach is an early fan of the West Village newcomer Choptank, NY Journal contends that the food at the new iteration of Mia Dona isn't thrilling but it is well made, and the Food Doc enjoys Aldea more the second time around.