As noted yesterday, this week Sam Sifton stripped the outrageously expensive sushi palace Masa of its fourth star: "The quality of the ingredients and preparations were sometimes breathtaking...But extraordinary food alone does not an extraordinary restaurant make. The experience of eating at Masa can clash, sometimes greatly, with the grace, simplicity and excellence of the cuisine on display." [NYT]
Steve Cuozzo writes that Brasserie Ruhlman is more than just a tourist trap: "Locals who pass it up for overpriced steakhouses nearby are missing a smartly turned-out American-French bistro menu worthy of its landmark setting. None of the dishes strays far from the familiar Manhattan playbook. But it’s a playbook built around the fine raw materials and seasonally attuned composition New Yorkers expect. No time is better to enjoy it than summer." [NYP]
Pete Wells feels transported by Williamsburg oyster bar Maison Premiere: "The pains the designers took with the interior can stagger the imagination...Stagecraft dominates the experience until the moment a plate of oysters shows up, and you eat one. That’s when you understand that the fakers who run this place are for real." [NYT]
Tables for Two loves the food but wants more character at Michael White's Ai Fiori: "This is a restaurant that has everything—more or less faultless cooking, imaginative plating, exemplary service—except character. A main course of butter-poached lobster, atop a fondant of spring vegetables, is magnificent, firm yet delicate, but it’s a dish you can imagine seeing at any number of high-end places." [New Yorker]
THE ELSEWHERE: Julia Moskin deems Gabe Stulman's Fedora tasty and fun, if a bit too trend-focused, Lauren Shockey likes it spicy at East Village newcomer Zabb Elee, and Gael Greene finds excellent food amidst the unusual setting of Qi Bangkok Eatery.
THE BLOGS: The Food Doc has a run down on the duck menu at Momofuku Ssam Bar, Serious Eats gives a solid A to The Beagle in the East Village, NY Journal writes that DBGB is as good as ever, Law & Food thinks Bed-Stuy newcomer Do Or Dine shows potential, Immaculate Infatuation isn't exactly wowed by Recette, The Pink Pig thinks that Lincoln deserves a lot more attention for what they're doing, and Life with Food & Drink loves almost everything but detests the ice cream at David Burke Kitchen.