This week Sam Sifton files on the new, ginormous Tribeca location of Flatiron Indian restaurant Tamarind, giving it two stars. It may seem a little ostentatious, a little over sized, but he calls it "the best thing to happen to Indian food since Hemant Mathur and Suvir Saran opened Devi in 2004."
...have a drink and consider some curry-laced crab cakes and crisp pomegranate samosas, and the promise beyond them of a menu that can take diners across India in the name of flavor, and represent that nation’s varied cuisine with pride and great skill...cooking from Punjab, Goa, Hyderabad, Madras, Calcutta and Lucknow are all represented.[NYT]
...Nizami keema is a marvel: an appetizing sandwich of grilled and minced lamb, pungent with cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and a high pitch of lemon zest, in a small bun. As are turmeric-hued sautéed scallops, with poppy seeds and a bright lemon sauce.
Robert Sietsema says the food is good looking, not so good tasting at Plein Sud. Referring to Top Chef, where chef Ed Cotton is a contestant, he writes, "Food that merely looks great is the objective of the show—since the home audience can't taste anything—and it seems as if a lot of that attitude has rubbed off on Plein Sud." [VV]
If only the food were decent, Steve Cuozzo would like Zengo: "You hate beating up on so ambitious a restaurant with a warm and winning staff...At least Zengo got the vibe right in the voluminous tri-level space that swallowed four earlier flop eateries...If only the menu kept up its end of the fun." [NYP]
Adam Platt files a two-fer this week on Zak Pelaccio's Asian BBQ spot in Williamsburg Fatty 'Cue and the newish Taim offshoot Balaboosta in Nolita. Both get two stars. He calls Fatty Cue "one of the great destinations of this year’s barbecue season" while noting that Balaboosta's Einat Admony "can do all sorts of imaginative things in her kitchen." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Alan Richman discovers that French food is excellent in the summertime too, as long as you're dining at Eleven Madison Park, Sarah DiGregorio thinks Cienfuegos is a beautiful place for getting drunk (but doesn't love the food), Tables for Two is charmed by the Caribbean fare at Kaz An Nou, Ligaya Mishan loves the takeout banh mi at Tigerlily in Bed Stuy, Dave Cook finds excellent food from the Ivory Coast at Kuti's Place, and Time Out NY awards four stars each to Hide Chan Ramen and Totto Ramen.
THE BLOGS: Immaculate Infatuation tries some 'real deal Italian food' at Williamsburg's Aurora, Serious Eats sees potential in hit or miss newcomer Olio Pizza e Piu, The Food Doc experiences some missteps but has an overall impressive meal at Commerce, The Young and Hungry finally tries Lucali and comes away impressed, NY Journal finds it hard to cobble together a decent meal at newcomer Nuela and The Hungry Roach discovers a lot of Italian heart and soul at Salume.