About a month after awarding two stars to Jean-Georges' Vongerichten's other new Manhattan debut, The Mark, Sifton drops a deuce on his downtown, eco-friendly, restaurant-in-a-furniture store ABC Kitchen. He seems to like it in spite of its overly aggressive eco-ethos:
ABC Kitchen pulls off the magic trick. The food is great and not terribly expensive. It is a pretty room. The crowd runs high-wattage with net worth to match...
...The appetizers include a terrific plate of shaved fluke with grapefruit and tarragon, in which the sweetness of the fish melds perfectly with the acidity of the grapefruit, while the tarragon does a dance around the base...Calamari coated in crushed pretzels is a failure, sadly, damp beneath its salty coating, with a whipped mustard aioli. But baby greens with sprouts, in a tangy dressing enlivened by lemon and yogurt, swings back toward success...
There's more to recommend: the burger, the pizzas, the asparagus, the black sea bass, the oven roasted lobster, the sundae. In sum, "It represents fantasy, wealth without guilt, socially responsible hedonism. Resistance is futile. Obey." [NYT]
Alan Richman finds a lot to like at Pulino's, but finds the restaurant misses the mark overall: "The room is too cramped and too uncomfortable for anything other than snacking. It's too noisy and hectic for real dining...I'd like to see Appleman unbound, cooking the food he does best...When the place is transformed into Pulino's Bar & Pig Parts, I'll be back." [GQ]
Ryan Sutton contends that Torrisi Italian Specialties, which he says might be "Manhattan’s best Italian-American restaurant," is worth a two hour wait: "There’s a moment in the film 'Ratatouille' where the gaunt and jaded critic Anton Ego takes a bite of something and is instantly transported to his childhood, turning the miserable journalist into a tolerable human being. That’s how I felt upon sampling the garlic bread here." [Bloomberg]
Sarah DiGregorio calls Tamarind Tribeca an "upscale, South Asian Shopsin's—minus the attitude": "The complexity and diversity of Indian food lend it to the flourishes and inventions of fine dining, but there are very few places in New York smartly experimenting with it in an elevated way—only Tabla and Devi come to mind. Now we can add Tamarind Tribeca to that roster." [VV]
Plattypants is taken by Anita Lo's Annisa 2.0, which just reopened after a fire-induced year-long hiatus. He gives it three stars: "She’s not worried about expanding her brand, or chasing trends, or pleasing hordes of riotous eaters in Vegas-size dining rooms. The result is an experience that strikes that delicate (and increasingly rare) balance between modern style, classic technique, and pure, old-fashioned gourmet pleasure." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Strand realizes Korean fried chicken rivals BonChon and Kyochon are better at different times of day, Robert Sietsema has some laudable tex-mex at El Cantinero on University Place, Tables for Two is mostly pleased with Jean-Georges Vongerichten's The Mark, Gael Greene swoons over the lobster rolls at Pearl's Oyster Bar, and Jay Cheshes gives four out of five stars to Cesar Ramirez's cooking at Brooklyn Fare.
THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives an A to Ma Peche's Beef Seven Ways, Salli Vates mistakenly visits Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar on Girls' Night Out, Cleaned My Plate is blown away by Torrisi's turkey, NY Journal is impressed by the originality and quality of the food at Pulino's, DManBurger has an early review for the burger offerings at Tall Grass Burger, Broke Ass Stuart is thrilled with Williamsburg newcomer A Night of Joy, Immaculate Infatuation has some major misses at Dock's, Slice finds the best pizza in Penn Station, and a newcomer called Marita's Peruvian Cooking has a review of East Village spot Bar Paya.