Happy to take a break from the hip, trendy, raffish restaurants of Brooklyn and their copycats, Eric Asimov gets a taste of the classy and the classic at the newly revamped Monkey Bar. He awards it, and chef Damon Wise's new efforts there, two stars:
Mr. Wise overhauled the menu, eliminating the museum pieces. Instead, he offers a contemporary menu that is straightforward even though some of its complexities can seem puzzling and fussy. More often, they are simply delicious.There are some big misses and little peculiarities but ultimate Monkey Bar has "traded in exclusivity for graciousness, while turning an embalmed menu into living, breathing cuisine." [NYT]
...Nantucket bay scallops were sweet, rich and savory, as if they’d been salted and buttered internally. A round of foie gras torchon was so lavish and sumptuous, I could have eaten it without the brioche toasts. But dishes like raw yellowfin tuna with smoked mushroom, sea bean and slivers of radish; or cured hamachi, chanterelles, endive and cranberry, lacked internal logic.
Ryan Sutton enjoys Alain Allegretti's most affordable restaurant to date, La Promenade des Anglais: "The cacophony notwithstanding, La Promenade instantly ranks among the city’s better Southern French restaurants, serving the highly aromatic fare of Nice." [Bloomberg]
Lauren Shockey finds the perfect date spot in Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria: "Order the flawless bucatini cacio e pepe ($16), neither overly dressed with pecorino nor too dry, common pitfalls of the peppery prep. It surpasses the penne and sausage slicked in a bitter rapini pesto ($20) and the rather unmemorable, corkscrew-shaped busiate with cauliflower, anchovies, and mint ($18)...Among the mains, spit-roasted short ribs ($32) provide a welcome respite from the red-wine braising this cut of beef usually gets." [VV]
Adam Platt awards two stars to John DeLucie's clubby uptown newcomer Crown: "...the tables soon filled up with a festive assortment of DeLucie regulars...and local representatives of the One Percent...They sipped fishbowl-size snifters of cognac from the extensive list of spirits and hoisted $45 glasses of vintage Champagne poured from giant, frosty magnums." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene runs into Todd English and loves what he's cooking up at the Plaza Food Hall after its recent expansion, Robert Sietsema uncovers an unusual menu at Chinatown newcomer Shanghai Asian Cuisine, Ligaya Mishan finds endearing, comforting, and surprising family cooking at Lower East Side newcomer Family Recipe, Jay Cheshes thinks that Mas La Grillade has been infected with a "bad attitude bug," and Tables for Two recommends careful ordering and plenty of cocktails at The Beagle.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a B to Family Recipe., The Food Doc calls Battersby in Brooklyn a wonderful discovery, Immaculate Infatuation is all over the Parm program, Chekmark Eats files a rave for Frankies 570, Gotham Gal loves Kutsher's, and NY Journal encounters more than a few disappointments at Greek newcomer Loi but hopes it irons out the kinks.