In a rave today, Eric Asimov awards two stars to Zak Pelaccio's new West Village version of his Malaysian/BBQ spot Fatty 'Cue. He notes that through Pelaccio's career, he's had restaurants weighed down by service and other issues, "But the food has never been less than creative and occasionally verges on genius." He calls Fatty 'Cue his best effort yet:
How about deep-fried rabbit? It’s the best fried chicken in town! Crisp and moist under the crust, it’s full of flavor and comes with an excellent house-made chile-vinegar sauce that takes to the rabbit like malt vinegar to fish and chips.
Fermented fish sauce adds a captivating Southeast Asian funk to generously endowed pork ribs, while a pile of Manila clams arrives with bacon in a broth redolent of curry leaves. It’s worth pausing the throw-down a moment to savor this bright, aromatic broth with a few pieces of crisp baguette.Asimov concludes that "Judging by the stops he’s made so far" Pelaccio's next move will "never be less than fascinating." [NYT]
The Cuozz is surprised he likes John DeLucie's Crown so much and awards it two stars: "The 'continental' menu is a steakhouse-like, mainly American affair without an amoeba of “global” anything — buttoned-down classics for a buttoned-down ZIP code, done with integrity and attention to detail." [NYP]
Ryan Sutton likes a great deal of the food (and dislikes a handful of dishes) at Crown but can't understand the terrible service: "After you fill up on sweet, pristine Nantucket bay scallops or a great, flaky turbot, you’ll still leave Crown hungry for some Danny Meyer-style hospitality...DeLucie, who also runs The Lion, is decent enough as a chef, not-so-great as a restaurateur." [Bloomberg]
Lauren Shockey finds a lot to like at Mas spinoff Mas La Grillade: "Grilled artichokes with chanterelles and hazelnut mayonnaise ($18) recall an autumn afternoon in a forest, earthy with a hint of smoke. Should you prefer treats from the ocean, try the squid stuffed with bay leaves ($10), gently musky and delicate...the smoke-roasted Violet Hill Farm chicken entrée ($28) ranks as one of the best birds I've had all year." [VV]
The Robs center their review on the montara, a trendy new fried pizza that's popped up at Neapolitan newcomers Forcella and PizzArte, which both earn three Underground Gourmet stars: "Against all odds, it doesn’t sink in your stomach like a medicine ball, but rather seemingly floats. It’s like Italian-government-sanctioned Verace Pizza Napoletana pizza by way of the Feast of San Gennaro." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Manhattan awards five stars to Le Bernardin, Ligaya Mishan finds the food irresistible if pricey at Cafe de La Esquina in Williamsburg and prefers the salads to the ramen at Prospect Heights newcomer Chuko, Gael Greene discovers one too many missteps at Greek newcomer Loi, Jay Cheshes thinks that Williamsburg's Isa is serving some of the most creative high-end food in any borough, Tables for Two enjoys the food despite the cramped environs at Red Farm, and Robert Sietsema calls Indian Clove in Staten Island "the great multi-regional Indian restaurant we've all been waiting for."
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats awards an A- to Chelsea Chinese spot Legends, Immaculate Infatuation calls newcomer Amali a welcome new addition to the Upper East Side, The Pink Pig gets the VIP treatment (and a delicious meal) at Roberta's, and Eating in Translation has a wonderful zucchini sandwich at No. 7 Sub.