Sam Sifton takes a break from reviewing this week while he heads off into the wilderness. Let's see what the other critics have to offer.
On the $25 and Under beat, Ligaya Mishan visits Williamsburg's relative newcomer Traif, saying that while the menu may seem disjointed at times, the decor unfocused, "it is, simply, a very nice restaurant":
There’s nothing outré about the food, which is for the most part delicious and well made. The cooking is thoughtful, the flavors subtle and complex, the prices reasonable...the best dishes have an Asian inflection. Hamachi ($9), draped over crescents of nectarine so that the juices commingle, gets a minimalist squeeze of lime and a crush of holy basil, heightening the vivid flavors.The taboo stuff, Mishan writes, is also worth a try. [NYT]
Duck confit ($8) comes shredded, to be bundled in lettuce leaves and dredged through a banana-tamarind nam prik, a hot-sour-sweet chili paste that suits the sweetness of the duck.
Ryan Sutton notes that Sushi of Gari is still one of New York's best sushi joints but is unhappy about the fish it serves: "I learned two things...First, Gari has virtually no New York equals in the area of non-traditional sushi...Second, Gari, along with other sushi restaurants in the city, needs to be more transparent about the fish it serves." [Bloomberg]
Robert Sietsema contends that two year-old I Sodi is one of the few restaurants that truly represents authentic Tuscan cooking well, which means, "olive-oil-glossed veggies plucked directly from the fields, cured pork products, pungent pecorino cheeses, fresh and dried pastas in arrestingly simple sauces, and wood-roasted meats, with nary a can of tomatoes or package of frozen vegetables in sight." [VV]
Jay Cheshes gives three stars to the daredevil cuisine at strange newcomer Il Matto: "The restaurant, the most theatrical new venue since warrior-themed Ninja, features avant-garde Italian cuisine and zany mixed drinks, served in a dining room that looks as if it were pilfered from a Tim Burton film set...while his dishes at Il Matto are more outré, they aren’t quite as deranged as the setting."
THE ELSEWHERE: Tables for Two offers some nice words for Pulino's, Sarah DiGregorio discovers some excellent Vietnamese fare at Co Ba on 9th Ave., Gael Greene samples the eats on Coney Island, and The Cuozz offers a roundup on the best burgers on the Upper East Side.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A- to Zenkichi in Williamsburg, NY Journal calls Sagaponack a "solid little gem," Immaculate Infatuation has some killer fried chicken at The Commodore, Wined & Dined takes a look at Mexican food truck Mexicue, The Feisty Foodie has a review for The Side Door at Beacon, and The Pink Pig thinks Walter Foods is an exemplary specimen of the American bistro.