In his review this week, Sam Sifton calls Marcus Samuelsson's three month-old Harlem restaurant Red Rooster one of the most important restaurants to open this year. He awards it two stars. The food is good, often great, but the crux of his review is the discovery of diversity up in Harlem. It's "the integrated Savoy Ballroom of the 1940s" mixed with a little late 1980's Odeon:
It is that rarest of cultural enterprises, one that supports not just the idea or promise of diversity, but diversity itself. The scene is amazing: a pulsing, cheerful and virtually always-packed bar that gives way to a crowded and sleek dining room beyond it, decorated with the work of local artists. In the seats: Harlem itself, from those matrons in the dining room to its youngest children and its political elite, along with many visitors from downtown and afar, everyone playing a role in the restaurant’s grand vision.He reiterates: "The glory of the Red Rooster is that everyone really is there, actually making the scene: black and white, Asian and Latino, straight and gay, young and old. This fact marks a real stride forward for Harlem, and for New York beyond it." [NYT]
Robert Sietsema may not love the bus station decor of East Village restaurant Heartbreak, but he loves the Alsatian fare: "While the city has had lots of German restaurants since the late 19th century (and Austrian ones more recently), never has there been anything quite like Heartbreak, which seeks to elevate the culinary status of peasant classics." [VV]
Ryan Sutton offers a slam for Michael Psilakis' Upper West Side newcomer Fishtag: "Entrees might follow appetizers by less than 30 seconds; tea might be served without spoons, napkins or sugar; bartenders don’t always offer water; transferring tabs to your table is frowned upon. Low ceilings ensure ear-piercing sound levels...Anthos was known for such inspired pairings as raw tuna with mastic. Here, we get Psilakis’s outtakes." [Bloomberg]
Jay Cheshes likes the food at Fedora so much he says you could easily want to eat there twice in a week: "Salt-cod fritters are light as beignets, and a big dinner salad is a riotous number with rock shrimp, avocado, shaved fennel and Manchego. Then there’s a very fine steak tartare, an offbeat and elegant spin—a little bit Asian, a little bit French—that combines a hand-cut fillet with sriracha mayo, flying-fish roe, crisped rice and shallots." [TONY]
THE ELSEWHERE: Oliver Strand loves the chicken parm, the garlic knots, the pies at Best Pizza in Williamsburg, Lauren Shockey thinks Cocoran will finally bring soba to the limelight, and Tables for Two gets a heaping portion of lamb and all kinds of friendliness at Bay Ridge's Bab Al Yeman.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A- to the brunch at Minetta Tavern, The Food Doc calls the food at What Happens When "inventive and delicious," Gotham Gal wants to like Porsena but to her it's just ok, Immaculate Infatuation has a pretty excellent meal at Ciano, Goodies First recommends small plates rather than the entrees at Mary Queen of Scots, A Tiger In The Kitchen reminisces over Pink Teacup but enjoys Buvette, KikaEats describes an amazing brunch at El Cobre, and New York Journal says the new chef at Hotel Griffou is great and worth a revisit.