It's slim pickings this week as Ryan Sutton, Adam Platt (and the Robs!), Steve Cuozzo, and Alan Richman take a break from reviewing. But Sifton's still plugging away, this week reviewing Balaboosta, a small time Middle Eastern joint and offshoot of popular falafel spot Taim. He gives it one star:
...a pizza resplendent in orange and green arrives. The orange is puréed carrot, spiked with the fire of chilies. The green is cilantro, laid over white clouds of goat cheese and lightning bolts of caramelized onion. The crust has a delicate skin that breaks open to reveal a chewy interior, deep in flavor, steaming hot....Sadly, the mains don't stand up. A vegetarian pasta is "redolent of long shifts at the food co-op," lamb cooked three ways "is perhaps two ways too many," and a dish of roasted sweet potatoes next to an excellent steak is "an underminer defined." [NYT]
...pop a few fried olives into your mouth, crisp and salty beneath their skin, or drag them through a drift of thick, house-made labneh to soften their crunch beneath the yogurt’s tang...A honeydew and cantaloupe gazpacho with almond brittle and a jicama-mint relish sounds preposterous. But Ms. Admony’s clever use of spice and heat to counter the fruit makes it a kind of summertime miracle...
Jay Cheshes is the first critic to file on clubby newcomer The Lion. The service is genial, the door penetrable, and the food, not bad at all: "Like the city’s other clubby spots, the food takes a backseat to the scene. Which isn’t to say that it’s not often delicious. Like the Minetta Tavern’s straightforward menu, the selections are all fairly classic, and for the most part, exceptionally well done." [TONY]
Sarah DiGregorio files on new Southern newcomers. On Seersucker: "Though a friendly, comfortable place, the eatery lacks the generosity of flavor that characterizes good Southern fare." On Peaches HotHouse: "That talent for frying extends to the green tomatoes, which gush tartly beneath their breading, enriched with a slick of bacon mayonnaise. And the owners' penchant for barbecue also shows up here, most successfully in a dish of sweet-smoky lacquered spare ribs...." [VV]
Tables for Two hits up Bay Ridge favorite Tanoreen: "It’s easy to get caught up in the madcap spirit and lose track of what has been ordered, as well as how much, and it can be a challenge to identify some of the dishes that start arriving. A greenish-brown heap appeared on the table like a delicious riddle—some parts round and some parts flat. It had diminished to almost nothing by the time one of the servers came by to explain precisely what it was..." [New Yorker]
THE ELSEWHERE: Betsy Andrews files an Under on sandwich shops, Gael Greene does a run down on some of her favorite haunts like ABC Kitchen, Ed's Chowder House, Fairway Cafe and others, Metromix thinks the unsuccessful menu at 6th Street Kitchen resembles a midnight fridge raid, and Robert Sietsema finds some very promising Mexican fare at Cascabel Trattoria.
THE BLOGS: Cleaned My Plate says the name at The Best Chocolate Cake in the World got her in the door but the cake won't bring her back, Serious Eats gives an A- to Totale Pizza, Immaculate Infatuation notes that August is best at brunch, NY Journal takes an early look at the strange new Tribeca spot Il Matto, Law & Food encounters some impressive chicken wings at Double Crown, A Tiger in the Kitchen is blown away by the broth at Totto Ramen, The Food Doc has a wonderful meal at Soto, and Salli Vates checks in on neighborhood spot I Sodi.