This week Sam Sifton takes the L train out to Williamsburg to pull rank on the $25 and Under crew and file a full-on review of the revamped St. Anselm, the grill-centric sister restaurant to local favorites Fette Sau and Spuyten Duyvil. He awards it one star, noting that the chef has "matched great live-fire technique to excellent groceries, and reveals himself to be a master of off-cut lamb and beef." He also writes this:
Like the real-life St. Anselm, the restaurant makes an ontological argument. If we can conceive of an affordable steakhouse on the same block as the Metro Line cab stand and the Brooklyn home of the Knitting Factory, then surely such a thing must exist. And here it is now: St. Anselm is Keens for the millennial set, a Bar Americain for the riders of fixed-gear bikes.He loves: the steaks, the lamb, the pork chops, the fish, the grilled vegetables, the wedge salad. He could do without: the clams, the sad desserts, the mushy grilled avocado, the bitchy service. [NYT]
Jay Cheshes is pleasantly surprised by Marble Lane in the Dream Hotel: "...Manuel Trevino (Travertine, Lavo) hasn’t dumbed down his cooking to jibe with the space or the crowd it’s presumably courting, avoiding the usual clubland clichés. To start, there are no typical bottle-service bar bites—no lollipop lamb chops, kobe-beef sliders or truffled french fries. Instead you’ll find squid bellies and tentacles expertly seared on the plancha...as well as crispy sweetbreads...just as impressively cooked..." [TONY]
Ryan Sutton has a slam for Gilt: "Chef Justin Bogle, like his predecessor Christopher Lee, specializes in turning expensive luxury ingredients into cheap, uninteresting food...errors might be forgiven and forgotten at a tapas joint. They’re magnified at Gilt, where dinner for two can easily exceed $300." [Bloomberg]
Steve Cuozzo loves Chelsea's Spanish newcomer Salinas: "Modern Spanish cuisine seems on the brink of at last finding its footing here, with places as varied as La Fonda del Sol, Bar Basque, Casa Mono, brand-new Tertulia and upcoming, $245-a-head Romera. Salinas is a worthy addition — and it has that great open roof. I can’t wait for spring." [NYP]
Adam Platt is pleasantly surprised by how good the food is at Nolitan hotel restaurant Ellabess, but doesn't like it enough to award more than one star: "Inspired little recipes like this might eventually help Ellabess avoid the dreaded curse of the boom-time hotel. But right now, there aren’t quite enough of them on the menu to merit a trip to this strange border region of Kenmare. If you happen to find yourself stranded in the neighborhood at lunchtime, however, the fried-chicken sandwich...is a thing of beauty." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene has a thrilling evening at the just opened Wong, Ligaya Mishan tries all the food at the San Gennaro Festival, running down the hits and misses, Lauren Shockey adores the fried pizzas at Forcella in Williamsburg, Tables for Two appreciates the Big Delta romance of oyster and cocktail bar Maison Premiere, and Robert Sietsema checks out Taiwanese Specialties in Elmhurst.
THE BLOGS: EateryRow thinks new Southern spot Gravy is okay but overpriced, Serious Eats gives Red Farm an A-, while Immaculate Infatuation is a little less impressed (comparing much of the menu to P.F. Chang's), the Pink Pig enjoys the food but nitpicks the rest at Hospoda, and Robert Sietsema digs the decent barbecue at East Village newcomer Cardinal.
[Photo via Immaculate Infatuation]