Sam Sifton awards two stars this week to Brushstroke, David Bouley's Japanese kaiseki and sushi restaurant run in partnership with the Tsuji Culinary Institute in Osaka, Japan. He says the food lands somewhere between art and culinary expertise and advises diners to skip the sushi and head straight for the eight or 10 course meal:
...That is pistachio powder and a watercress sauce accompanying the sesame-marinated grilled black cod with sea urchin: nut and pepper against silk and brine. That is a single giant Pacific oyster cut into bites, served with a slick plum-wine jelly with fresh green seaweed, laid out in its shell like a story. And yes, when you remove the top from a bowl of steamed egg custard, the scent is black truffles, at once funky and pure, over the ocean scent of Dungeness crab. It is a combination that only improves once you start eating it.Service is excellent, if overwhelming, the wine and sake list works in the hands of the sommelier. He concludes: "Mr. Bouley has said that Brushstroke is best considered a work in progress...But it is not too shabby now." [NYT]
Ryan Sutton has a slam for "the disaster that is Imperial No. Nine" and its chef Sam Talbot: "A slab of bone marrow is fine. Problem is, it obliterates the flavor of the accompanying mussels. Chicken isn’t fine. The bird tastes like cardboard. It’s paired with panzanella, a humble Italian dish that involves softening day old bread with tomatoes or vinegar. Talbot instead places two stale croutons on your plate and calls it cuisine." [Bloomberg]
Jay Cheshes, like Sifton, files on David Bouley's Brushstroke and loves it: "The dishes, gorgeously plated on handmade Japanese stoneware, flow like parts of a symphony, from muted petals of raw kombu-wrapped sea bass one night to a rich and restorative black truffle custard, with crab underneath and sweet mirin on top. A feast here builds toward a subtle climax, asparagus tips with pristine lobes of uni leading to silky black cod with watercress sauce and crumbled pistachios." [TONY]
Robert Sietsema calls Jones Wood Foundry the best facsimile of a gastropub in New York: "English peasant fare forms the bedrock of the menu, in servings that qualify as single-plate meals—though ones generally devoid of veggies. There's a fist-size steak-and-kidney pie ($18) made with a thick, flaky pastry as brown as the Monk's robe in Canterbury Tales...The best all-inclusive meal is a roast chicken with mashed potatoes ($21), though the enthrallingly light gravy makes you wish it came with some bread." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Betsy Andrews has a round up of lobster roll joints in New York, Metromix discovers a terrible scene but excellent food at Co-Op Food & Drink, Gael Greene notices huge improvements at Casa Nonna in just one week, and Lauren Shockey calls West Village newcomer Monument Lane "middling."
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats thinks Nighhawk Cafe offers the best food you'll ever find in a movie theater, Immaculate Infatuation just adores Brooklyn Heights spot Colonie, Off the Broiler enjoys the steak, the service, the view at Porterhouse NY, The Food Doc writes that many of the dishes miss the mark at Sunnyside's Salt & Fat, Eat Big Apple recommends sitting at the bar and interacting with the chef at Taro Sushi in Brooklyn, NY Journal has a solid meal at Alfama, The Skinny Pig has already been in the try the new version of The Meatball Shop, and the Hungry Roach goes all out at Marea and has no regrets.