Sam Sifton heads to Midtown to find wildly expensive food and gaggles of wealthy New Yorkers eating it at Nice import La Petite Maison. Most of the food is competently made, even delicious at times, but something here doesn't jive with the Siftonator. It gets one star:
This scene is not, obviously, for everyone. The restaurant has an aesthetic that the uncharitable might characterize as of the European carting-business style. The menu, while competently prepared and wildly expensive, is hardly adventurous. About the desserts, the less said the better. La Petite Maison demands a willing suspension of disbelief.While there, do try the $70 dover sole or $55 truffled mac 'n' cheese, just remember, "The whole place can be overwhelming and, indeed, absurd, a kind of pantomime vacation on the Riviera, here in Midtown." [NYT]
But as such, if you are, for instance, gearing up to see the German expressionism show at MoMA when it opens on Sunday, La Petite Maison may serve as a perfect place to allow the mistral to push away the darkness, and to eat zucchini-flower beignets with a glass of rosé. This is a pleasant activity, actually, in this room. Count Rolexes or Herrera dresses as you wait for the food.
Jay Cheshes approves of John Fraser's What Happens When: "But while there was an endearing amateur quality to the service and setting, in the first incarnation and in the current one...Fraser’s food in both cases was professional as ever. While plenty of corners are cut here to keep the overhead low...the cooking goes a long way toward justifying the $58-per-person price of admission." [TONY]
Robert Sietsema finds Franco-Brooklyn food at the satisfying East Village bistro Goat Town: "A gorgeous crimson heap of steak tartare ($12), ground on the fine side, is tendered with celery-root remoulade...There’s a bang-up moules steamed in beer with Berkshire bacon...The steak frites ($21), however, is not quite up to snuff...Instead, grab the wonderful hamburger ($14), which the menu assures us is made with “pasture-raised beef,” a bucolic image Irving would have loved to lampoon."
Gael Greene is cramped but is sure to return to Italian newcomer Spasso: "But then pastas arrive from a roster of seven, $15 to $20, and I know why I’m here and why I’ll be back. My maccheroni di Busa with pork ragu "grandmother style," with fennel fronds and pillow of satiny goat cheese, is almost too rich...Out comes yet another bonus from the kitchen...To think I might have missed this stunning toss of ricotta-flavored noodles with savory clumps of meat and the smokiness of a cheese that I love and almost never see." [IC]
THE ELSEWHERE: Betsy Andrews files a rundown on where to get a quick bite to eat in Koreatown, Metromix notes that work still needs to be done but there's a lot of potential at neighborhood spot La Follia Osteria, Lauren Shockey files on Mulberry Street trifecta Rubirosa, Torrisi Italian Specialties, and Balaboosta, and Tables for Two is enchanted by Harold Dieterle's Kin Shop.
THE BLOGS: Eat Big Apple has an enlightening experience at Tulsi, Law & Food enjoys a very good brunch at Barbuto, The Food Doc describes his delectable meal at Hotel Griffou hosted by David Santos, Life with Food and Drink awards Batali's Lupa four offset spatulas, The Skinny Pig feels as though Lido was designed specifically for brunch, The NYC Foodie calls Tenpenny a hidden treasure, NY Journal loves the only in New York experience of Burger Joint, Serious Eats gives a B+ to Jody Williams' new West Village spot Buvete, and Pink Pig thinks the chef at Saro Bistro can cook!