This week, Sam Sifton awards an enthusiastic onespot to a newish modern Korean restaurant in Hell's Kitchen, Danji. It's not incredibly comfortable, and they turn tables fast. But the cooking alone is drawing in crowds:
Have a crisp little pancake of scallions and Korean peppers, or the seafood version if it is available as a special. You will benefit from some kimchi as well, made for the restaurant by Mr. Kim’s mother-in-law...Just skip the chicken wings, the grilled corn with a cheese aioli and spicy mayo, the fried calamari with wasabi mayo. And remember to hurry up, because there are people waiting. [NYT]
...That paella is nice, too: hot and weird below a fried Jidori hen egg, bright as the sun. And the bulgogi slider, crisp at its edges, turns out to be packed with the sweet thrum of Asian pear and the salty hush of soy sauce, with smoky sesame oil and the deep, steely taste of good beef...
Steve Cuozzo despairs that Casa Nonna is the kind of restaurant he's stuck reviewing these days: "...Casa Nonna is so risk-averse (and aroma-free), it seems to have touched down like a misrouted balloon on a still-gritty block between Eighth and Ninth avenues. Crafted to feed Times Square’s tourist masses and guests of the West 30s’ budget-traveler hotels, it is People’s Exhibit No. 1 that the city’s great interpretive-Italian tide has ebbed. Is this really the best that BLT Restaurant Group — shorn of founding genius Laurent Tourondel — can do?" [NYP]
Ryan Sutton is not wowed by The Leopard at des Artistes, the new version of the once classic Manhattan haunt: "The lights have been kicked up a few notches. The menu’s nods to Vienna and Paris are banished. The Leopard is just another Italian spot with noisy hardwood floors and tight seating." [Bloomberg]
Jay Cheshes awards three stars to the impressive and authentic Thai fare at Zabb Elee: "The best course of action might be to order a few things, and then add on some more. Red-curry fish custard (hor mok), light like a seafood soufflé, would be a good choice for round one. And a larb for the table—the northern-Thai staple of ground meat, fish or fowl with pulverized rice—is certainly a must...Getting to the perfect meal requires trial and error, a treasure hunt with some serious payoff." [TONY]
THE ELSEWHERE: Julia Moskin calls Untitled a bona fide neighborhood joint, Gael Greene gets sloshed at La Esquina and finds the food sloppy but enjoyable, and Robert Sietsema finds that the grills at St. Anselm are turning out some hit or miss dishes.
THE BLOGS: NY Journal thinks Gravy deserves more notice, A Tiger in the Kitchen has a fiery summer meal at Famous Sichuan, The Daily Meal eats all of the sandwiches at Eataly's Rosticceria, the Pink Pig declares that Adour should go back on everyone's must try list, Immaculate Infatuation isn't as annoyed with TIny's as they thought they would be, Eat Big Apple discovers a gem right under his nose at Forest Hills' Katsuno, and Serious Eats awards an A- to the serious Jamaican fare at Miss Lily's.
[Photo via Danji/2BE]