This week Sam Sifton awards one star to uber-hip Lower East Side beauty The Fat Radish. He spends much of his word count describing the scene—"it’s a restaurant for good-looking youngsters on their third jobs and second apartments, single and raging, with summertime Montauk shares and memories of Belize and Gstaad." But there's space left for the food as well:
It is mostly very good at the Fat Radish, an oft-changing list of farm-to-tabley salads and lightened-up gastropub standards and raw-bar treats.And in the end it's just hard not to like: "To sit in its dining room as light plays off the huge mirror in back, candles flickering everywhere, eating rillettes and drinking wine, is to experience a small part of the New York that leads people here inexorably and always will." [NYT]
A salad of sweet carrots tossed with hijiki and crisp kale (the seaweed and winter green combining almost as if one were bacon and the other not, or vice versa) was a delight one night, especially alongside an English High Street marvel of pork pie studded with melting blue cheese. Sweet squash given the onion-ring treatment had enormous charm and flavor — fried food for the yoga set...
...Of course, there is a hamburger...And it is just the sort of hamburger you’d wish to eat in this setting, with a good crust and yielding interior, with oozing cheese.
Jay Cheshes awards three out of five stars to Lotus of Siam: "...from the moment it opened it was already producing the best Thai cuisine in Manhattan. Just how long it will hold that distinction is anyone’s guess...if the staff she installed has already mastered her menu, the chili burn in her dishes might remain as nuanced as ever—potent, yes, but not blindingly so." [TONY]
Robert Sietsema knows that Delmonico's can't live up to its history, but he wants to see how it fares these days: "Bubbling in a small crock, the Delmonico potatoes ($12) were creamy and crusty, but really no richer than you’d get in any steakhouse. Better was the newfangled crab-stuffed mac-and-cheese, tasting more of bacon than crab—a predictable menu inclusion on the part of current chef William Oliva, who needs to not only preserve antique dishes, but strike modern poses, too." [VV]
Gael Greene finds mostly hits at Hemant Mathur new restaurant Tulsi: "our tasters are not so impressed by masala-stuffed baby eggplant with coconut tamarind sauce or banana dumplings stuffed with fig and cashew in tomato gravy that beg to be ordered. But I can’t remember ever a dal as sumptuous as this one tonight. It’s just a $10 side, but a wreathe of flavors. Its cosmic stew is intoxicating." [IC]
The Robs give Sara Jenkins' Porsena four Underground Gourmet stars: "Nothing against fish and salad, but there is no case of seasonal affective disorder so severe it can’t be cured by a serving of Jenkins’s penette with sweetly caramelized cauliflower, briny with olives and capers and strewn with crunchy bread crumbs." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Sam Sifton calls the pizza at Donatella undeniably good, Betsy Andrews notes that Ingrid Roettele is turning out some wonderful Kraut food at the new, underpopulated Heartbreak, Tables for Two notices that the best thing about exclusive Japanese restaurant Bohemian is probably the drinks, Metromix likes what Eric Hara is putting out at his new restaurant 9, and Lauren Shockey writes that the fried chicken at Mono + Mono is so good, it makes up for the rest of the menu.
THE BLOGS: The Pink Pig is a fan of Williamsburg's Le Comptoir, Serious Eats gives an A- to the food, a D to the service at new Japanese spot Niko, at Balthazar, Immaculate Infatuation felt like foreigners in their own city, but the kitchen got it done, NY Journal is impressed with what Marcus Samuelsson is putting out at Red Rooster, while Writing With My Mouth Full enjoys the food but has issues with the service there, and Law & Food has the wonderful meal one comes to expect at Eleven Madison Park.