This week, Sam Sifton files on The Lion, John DeLucie's clubby little hotspot on West 9th Street that seems modeled after The Waverly, Monkey Bar, Minetta. Sifton finds it more inclusive that some of it forbears—which seems to disappoint him greatly—with food that's about as good as expected, meaning fine to middling. He gives it one star:
Like the Waverly, it serves mostly comforting, occasionally very good American country-club fare...But the Lion also seems to have swapped the warm exclusivity of the Waverly for a kind of populism that is more inclusive, but also far louder and less pleasant...Les Moonves has made the scene there. But many JetBlue customers have come as well.He notes that "you can eat and drink well enough, all the way through to an excellent dessert of cheesecake in a jar," but adds that a terrible and overpriced pork chop would no be so offensive "if the restaurant did not lack what Thackeray, in the actual 'Vanity Fair,' called 'the elegances of fine society and the confidence and affection of a home.'" [NYT]
Plattypants sits with the commoners in Siberia at The Lion and walks away unimpressed. He gives the goose: "There are several French-accented bistro dishes...and several cuts of beef. The first one we sampled was the $98 rib eye for two. We specified medium rare, but the beef was purple. When it returned from the kitchen, it was burned to a greasy crisp. Of course, this is the price you tend to pay for entry, however brief, into select dining clubs like this." [NYM]
Ryan Sutton also visits The Lion, is also left cold: "The Lion will take your calls and serve you expensive American fare that’s generally better and cheaper elsewhere. ..I’m happy to let a new generation of scenesters blow their cash here. It means more room for me at Waverly." [Bloomberg]
Tables for Two likes the aps but not much else at dinner at Torrisi Italian Specialties: "the entrées, though, displayed excessive force: a skate filet was so drenched in butter as to obviate any other flavor; a pork chop tasted mostly of vinegar from the marinated peppers heaped on top. As for the pastry course, it recalled the ubiquitous parcel of sweets left behind at a wake." [NewYorker]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene eats a huge eight pound octopus at La Fonda del Sol, Oliver Strand thinks The Commodore's "crunchy, spicy, greasy, gooey and salty dishes" push all the right buttons, Jay Cheshes gives four stars to Bay Ridge's Tanoreen, Robert Sietsema tries out the Nigerian food at Clinton Hill's Buka, and Sarah DiGregorio heads out to Greenpoint for the tweaked Korean food at Mrs. Kim's, formerly known as River Barrel.
THE BLOGS: The Hungry Roach chalks up slow service at Tartinery to the French vibe of the place and knocks the "Americanized" (large) portions despite enjoying the actual food. Immaculate Infatuation recognizes that they're not saying anything revelatory in praising Michael White's seafood palace Marea as "exquisite," Law and Food finds more efficient lines and a great new selection of concretes at Shake Shack Midtown, NY Journal deems Southgate's iPad wine tablet a bit of a flop, Gastro Chic experiences torrential spice and long waits at Xi'an Famous Foods, Serious Eats awards an "incomplete" to the food at M. Wells Diner, and Wined and Dined loves on Diablo Royale Este's back garden and pricey Tex-Mex offerings.