After much navigating and stair climbing, Sam Sifton discovers Laurent Manrique's new seafood brasserie Millesime and awards it two stars. It's a beautiful, if underpopulated room, that offers an experience and a menu "luxurious and humble, ambitious and rustic, all at once." To the food:
Mr. Manrique serves an outstanding appetizer of smoked herring placed on warm, glistening fingerling potatoes. He offers a silken grilled Caesar salad, with melting hearts of romaine wrapped with soft, smoky black cod, with a dusting of Parmesan and a squeeze of lime. There are bracing platters of oysters and clams, and of remarkable tartares that manage to evoke classical traditions in some preparations...and new ones in others...He concludes, "The restaurant serves as a swell reminder of why this city fell in love with brasseries in the first place, and as a hopeful sign that there could be a resurgence in that affair." [NYT]
...A steak for two is neither good enough nor frankly large enough to justify its $86 price tag...But Mr. Manrique — or his executive chef, Alan Ashkinaze — can cook a roast chicken to beautiful, burnished perfection, and serve it with a gravy rich with garlic, with a fragrant mist of thyme.
The Cuozz also files on Millesime today and awards it two and a half stars: "Millesime delights palate, eye and even the din-weary ear. How rare to see a chef unknown to New Yorkers, brandishing Michelin stars earned elsewhere, take on a Manhattan space several generations out of fashion and make it work!...My friend returned just a few nights after pronouncing her first meal among 'the greatest' she'd ever had. That night it was one of mine, too." [NYP]
Ryan Sutton gives one star to The Lambs Club: "The Lambs Club might have as many solid dishes as a two- star restaurant, but the high prices magnify the misses here. A $14 salad tasted straight out of the bag. An underseasoned, jaw-tiring lobster roll is $32. A more appropriate value is the $18 sirloin burger, no better or worse than any other around town." [Bloomberg]
Ligaya Mishan finds delicious food but is somewhat disappointed in Jehangir Mehta's new Mehtaphor: "The food seems constrained, too, although for the most part, it is delicious...such straightforward pleasures are not what you expect from a culinary provocateur. The single outré gesture — oysters sprinkled with Pop Rocks — is a dud...Has Mr. Mehta mellowed?" [NYT]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene pulls some strings and enjoys the burger at Beauty & Essex, Restaurant Girl loves practically everything at Junoon, Lauren Shockey notes that the French bistro classics shine at Astoria's L'Artiste, Robert Sietsema uncovered a slice of Peru at Lima Limon in Elmhurst, and Tables For Two contends that misfires are few and forgiveness comes easily at Jeffrey's.
THE BLOGS: The Feisty Foodie thinks Lupa's still got it two and a half years after her first visit, Life with Food and Drink deems the offerings at Wine 30 "not a rip-off", Law & Food has some excellent pork chops and brussel sprouts at Ma Peche, and Serious Eats gives an A-/B+ to Mile End.