This week Sam Sifton drops a big fat goose egg on the nightclubby restaurant from Beatrice Inn alums and chef Joey Campanaro, Kenmare. As others have noted, it's not a place where the eating takes priority:
Joey Campanaro...wrote Kenmare’s menu. He is acclaimed in press reports as Kenmare’s chef. Here’s hoping he is well paid for that...The dining room is pretty enough, dark and cool, with white marble tables and a vaguely Mediterranean feel enhanced by big sprays of flowers...But the food is inconsequential.
...Entrees continued the trend of mediocrity, time after time. A Milanese-style veal cutlet, essentially a breaded and fried laptop case, was served with lemon, arugula, ricotta salata and a garish, oily salsa verde...And recalling the television program “Jersey Shore,” there was a dish called The Chicken — a sautéed chicken breast served over escarole and butter beans, with a moist, acrid, smoked chicken-leg confit. Maintaining consistency, it was almost too salty to eat. Not that many people are actually eating, though.Sifton notes over on the Diner's Journal blog, "I don’t like it much as a restaurant, but that may hardly matter. Places like Kenmare aren’t really about the food. They’re about who’s there and whether they know you. It’s a big city. That works for some people." [NYT]
Jay Cheshes notes that Marcus Samuelsson's departure was a huge blow to Aquavit: "Never underestimate the importance of marquee talent. Under Aquavit’s new chef, Marcus Jernmark, the food falls well short of the standards Samuelsson set. On a recent weeknight, the nearly empty dining room, with gray banquettes in wood booths, was as depressing as a corporate boardroom." [TONY]
Gael Greene finds some big misses but also some strong points at Ed Cotton's hotel restaurant Plein Sud: "At the moment, the bavette, grilled skirt steak on smashed potatoes with caramelized shallots, baby spinach and bordelaise sauce is classic enough and very good. And “ragout d’agneau” is not lamb stew after all, but pasta,,,a schmoosh that is wildly rich and delicious." [IC]
The Robs file an Underground Gourmet review this week on Commodore, the new dive bar in Williamsburg serving patently un-divey food from Stephen Tanner, giving it four stars: "...Tanner has come through with the goods. At the two-month-old Commodore, Black Betty’s quasi-nautical replacement, he can be seen moodily shuffling about and cooking what might be the best cheap bar food in town, chicken thighs and all." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Strand finds the sandwiches at Soho newcomer Salume good but pricey, Tables for Two is surprised at how bad the food is at hotel restaurant Crosby Bar, Sam Sifton samples some Americanized Chinese food at the 70 year-old Wo Hop, Bloomberg checks in on half priced wine night at Accademia di Vino, and Robert Sietsema discovers what may be the only Brazilian-Nepalese restaurant in the world Katmandu Spice.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A to the breakfast at Maialino, The Food Doc is impressed with the pies at Greenpoint's Paulie Gee's, NY Journal finds mostly competent but not incredibly ambitious food at Plein Sud, The Pink Pig mostly likes ABC Kitchen, which he calls Dan Barber lite, and brave Goodies First files on the new Union Square location of TGI Fridays.