Sam Sifton files a hotel restaurant twofer this week, dropping a goose egg on the pretty but wholly disappointing Plein Sud—cheffed by Top Chef contestant Ed Cotton—and giving one star to the uninviting but rather tasty Wall & Water. In terms of the former, the food looked beautiful...
But in the full experience of real life, over a number of meals, whether at a crowded dinner or leisurely lunch, the cooking at Plein Sud reveals itself to be lacking in flavor, texture, temperature or interest: room-service fare that leads to increased loneliness, raiding of the minibar, sleepless hours staring at the television in blue light, thinking about home.His best line: "It is not the snack room at Motel 6. But it is by no means a good restaurant."
Meanwhile, the food at Wall at Water "can soar," but check out Sifton's description of the scene:
Before him are tableaus of men and women poring over the drafts of PowerPoint presentations while stabbing at vegetables, terribly alone, or families in repose, children whining over milk, parents staring wordless and exhausted at the ceiling. Groups of business associates dine together at large tables at each end of the place.Wall & Walter, Sifton writes, "is a simple restaurant, with a modest menu, the sort that, were it served on a West Village side street, might develop a neighborhood following." Too bad it's in FiDi. [NYT]
Gael Greene has some hits, misses and poontang potstickers at Xiao Ye: "'Help U Poo Poo Greens' may be unsettling as table-talk but I’m more offended that the snow pea leaves stir fried with garlic are coarse and chewy...'Mom’s Cold Noodles' with cucumber slivers in Sichuan peppercorns and chile oil are just plain boring. And 'Everything but the Dog Meat Platter' – long cooked pork rib, pork belly and oxtail - served in a doggy bowl for $28 is disappointing too." [IC]
Sarah DiGregorio has a hard time finding something to like at pan-South American newcomer Nuela: "The menu is as enormous as the space, skipping from snacks to empanadas, sandwiches, salads, mains, plates for two, and suckling pig available by the quarter, half, or full. Ceviches make up the heart of the menu...Linger with this raw seafood, because the rest of the menu is seriously (and expensively) hit-or-miss." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Tables for Two loves the array of "juicy seafood" at Luke's Lobster UES, Alan Richman visits every Shake Shack in Manhattan, Oliver Strand files an Under on pizza, TONY digs the "trust fund hipster" aesthetic and simple cocktails at Night of Joy, and Robert Sietsema offers a round up on mostly disappointing new wine bars.
THE BLOGS: Immaculate Infatuation experiences iffy service and a visit from Sinbad (not the sailor) at Del Posto, The Food Doc has a delightful experience at Casa Mono, NYC Foodie recommends snagging a reservation before enjoying the upscale Indian fare at newcomer Tamarind Tribeca, Immaculate Infatuation also checks out Txikito and thinks it's "best suited for a date," Fiesty Foodie goes gaga over the buffet offerings at Aquavit's Crayfish Festival under new head toque Marcus Jernmark, Writing With my Mouth Full has a pricey meal at Robatayaki, and Serious Eats gives a B+ to the food at Smoke Jazz Club.