Sam Sifton heads out to Flushing to award one star to newish Chinese restaurant Hunan Kitchen of Grand Sichuan. He says going here is like going to Manhattan's Chinatown back in the 70's, when Chinese food first began to matter here. It's just a much longer ride. His takeaways:
There is a pale yellow fish soup that evokes health and vitality, with slices of pale and perfectly cooked tilapia and wisps of pickled cabbage. Also a pork broth with red beans and yams that is impossible not to slurp and finish. These both taste of life beneath a warm blanket as, outside, sleet falls.Also recommended: chicken with hot pepper, braised pork "Mao’s style," frogs' legs, white-pepper smoked beef, and the whole tilapia. Just hop on that 7, take it to the very last stop, and trudge six blocks south. [NYT]
...There is lamb cooked soft in cumin and pepper, as gamy as if eaten in a mountainside hut and as glorious, better than the dry sautéed version of this dish you can find in some Sichuan restaurants; less salty, more fully flavored. Sliced cured pork comes wok-seared with dried turnips, a hash of nutty white vegetable bits and green beans run through with bacon and flecks of chili.
Ryan Sutton believes that Ciano may be Manhattan's next great Italian restaurant: "Those beans! Giant legumes surround a sweet-and-sour stick of pork rib. Eat it with your hands. Those meatballs! Globes of tender (and humanely raised) veal sit atop a mound of polenta. That lasagna! Is there a better one in the city?" [Bloomberg]
Steve Cuozzo is in love with the charming, neighborhood bouchon, Lyon: "His menu wants it both ways -- the fatty pleasures of a simple Lyonnaise bistro known as a bouchon tempered by the "modern refinement" of seasonal and local tides. Such opposing impulses invariably yield clunkers...Yet most choices strike a suave middle ground, and chef Chris Leahy's kitchen has learned from early bloopers." [NYP]
Jay Cheshes calls Millesime the most ambitious new brasserie to open in years: "The project, like Balthazar with a maniacal seafood focus, revives a style of cooking we’ve frankly been missing—offering classic Gallic fare with a light touch. The venue itself is so proudly French it’s almost a caricature...the food nonetheless is well worth a trip." [TONY]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan files an Under on the new, wonderful, meaty, sometimes salty dinner menu at Montreal-themed deli Mile End, Robert Sietsema discovers Andre's Cafe, a first rate Hungarian restaurant behind a bakery on the Upper East Side, Metromix advises to choose wisely and skip the comfort food at Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster, Lauren Shockey writes that the food bores more than it delights at Lower East Side spot Mary Queen of Scots, and Gael Greene treks out to the Bronx to try newcomer Patricia's.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A- to Gabe Stulman's redo of Fedora, Gotham Gal finds some big hits at The Fat Radish, both The Food Doc and NY Journal are impressed with John Fraser's temporary restaurant What Happens When, Life With Food and Drink liked Little Cheese Pub even without the booze, Law & Food's expectations are not met at Dean Street, a new gastropub from a Spotted Pig alum, and Feisty Foodie falls in love with the fried chicken at Williamsburg's Pies 'n' Thighs.