As noted yesterday, the big news this week is the fourspot the Sam Sifton just dropped on Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich's Chelsea Italian restaurant Del Posto. As a longtime eater at the restaurant, Sifty says that the service has smoothed out over the years, while the wine list remained excellent and the cooking and pastry department excelled. He says that Mark Ladner, whose pastas are "insanely good," serves "the illuminated manuscript of cooking." The only problems with the restaurant, according to Sifton, "are the New Yorkers who came early and then stayed away." Perhaps they will stay away no longer.
Though Robert Sietsema encounters a few missteps in his initial meals at Dutch-themed (but not really Dutch) restaurant Vandaag, he eventually falls for it: "On subsequent visits, my fellow diners and I began to understand Vandaag better, and even came to love its inherent quirkiness...a large proportion of the selections deployed ingredients associated with the Netherlands in frankly weird ways, such as a cucumber soup with an alarming catalog of constituents: 'ginger, mint, gin, pickled cantaloupe, smoked eel.' It turned out to be scrumptious." [VV]
Ryan Sutton loves the large format dishes, and many other things, at giant Latin fusion restaurant Nuela: "Food like this separates Nuela from big-box behemoths like Tao or Buddakan. A humble chicken soup is smoked, slicked with chili oil and served with a slab of swine belly. Outstanding. They should sell the brilliant broth out of a truck as the weather turns chilly, and that’s what brings us to the bad news." [Bloomberg]
Sam Sifton has some unsurprising thoughts on Todd English's Ca Va: "...so there is a frisée aux lardons salad ($12) that would disappoint even on a cheap international flight, and a grim, metallic onion soup ($8) with a piece of toast briefly introduced to some Gruyère. There is a dish called Ça Va steak frites ($25), a “charred” flatiron steak with the texture and flavor of a bound collection of Ibsen rescued from a house fire." [NYT]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Strand appreciates the craft at Onya, Gael Greene sees the successful new Atlantic Grill as a sign of the rebirth of the Upper West Side, Time Out New York awards three stars to Thistle Hill Tavern in Park Slope, and Sarah DiGregorio mostly enjoy the crazy mashup of ingredients and dishes at Eddie Huang's Xiao Ye.
THE BLOGS: The Pink Pig checks out The Lamb's Club, guffaws at the overpriced cocktails but generally likes the grub, Law and Food has a locally driven birthday meal at Telepan, Immaculate Infatuation notes that Tanoreen is wonderful, but you have to be ready for a long ride to Bay Ridge, NY Journal heads to Salon Millesime, and likes the massive space and everything on the abbreviated menu, Goodies First gets over her aversion to brunch and likes M. Wells, Serious Eats gives two A minuses and one B minus to the week-old food court FoodParc, and The Food Doc thinks Torrisi Italian Specialties is as good as ever.