Calling chef Alain Allegretti "one of the city’s most adept practitioners of modern French cuisine," Pete Wells awards his latest restaurant La Promenade des Anglais two stars. He falls for the place on his first visit, encounters a sea of flaws on his second, and confirms his admiration on the third:
...it is so alluring that I began to think of La Promenade des Anglais as a charming and undiscovered seaside resort that I’d stumbled across...My companions and I were delighted with simple dishes like whipped ricotta with a stack of toast that tasted as if it had been grilled on the beach. We were just as happy with the lamb osso buco, with a marrow spoon jutting out from inside a length of shank bone.Wells writes that considering "how adroitly Mr. Allegretti corrected course between his last restaurant and this one," he should be able to correct his errors at La Promenade.
...With a closer look came the inevitable realization that what I had discovered on West 23rd Street fell a little short of paradise.
Steve Cuozzo awards Kibo, Steve Hanson's big box Asian with a pedigreed menu, two stars: "This is a fine, party-time place that will be even better when it stops trying so hard to be a party...The blogs would go bananas over executive chef Ayumu Matsuda’s robata grill specialties if they were served at a tiny no-reservations joint in Brooklyn, but vast Kibo has flown under the radar like a stealth condor." [NYP]
Ryan Sutton also files on Kibo and notes there are many standouts among the clunkers: "Tofu, crunchy on the outside, oozes like good ricotta. Beef tartare is soft and creamy, with a gentle zing of wasabi and the chili-and-fava bean paste toban djan. Curried cauliflower with fresh coriander is flavorful enough to satisfy the veggie phobic." [Bloomberg]
Jay Cheshes awards four out of five stars to the revamped Monkey Bar: "While Reiner embraces the old-world spirit of the place, Wise has subverted it, swapping out the timeworn steamship cooking—the meat loaf and lobster Thermidor—for more-contemporary fare. Some of it is downright adventurous, a dare to the abiding clientele of gray-haired tycoons and media machers to try something new." [TONY]
This week Adam Platt awards two stars to Upper West Side Greek newcomer Loi and one star to AvroKO's Saxon and Parole. He says of the latter, "The desserts are professionally cooked, but like most things at this stylishly generic restaurant, there isn’t one of them...that you haven’t seen a thousand times before." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene dines at Le Cirque and offers a smattering of great lunchtime recs, Tables for Two recommends the lamb at Whitehall, Robert Sietsema checks in on Felidia and loves it and treks out to Jersey City to try Taste of India and Thali in a mall food court, Pete Wells compares dining at Russian newcomer Onegin to attending "a wedding reception where the caterers had been told minutes before dinner that they weren’t going to be paid," Julia Moskin likes Corkbuzz but finds it hard to cobble together a coherent meal, and Lauren Shockey deems the menu at Brooklyn's Battersby to be elegant, refined, spunky, and inventive.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a "somewhat pricey A-" to the bar menu at Monkey Bar, Eat Big Apple sees huge potential in Williamsburg newcomer Mercado on Kent, NY Journal finds the menu predictable but well executed at Slightly Oliver on the Upper West Side, Immaculate Infatuation discovers some excellent dishes tucked in between a swath of underwhelming ones at Wong, Feisty Foodie prefers the food at Blaue Gans to the food at sister restaurant Wallse, Gotham Gal doesn't love every dish at Do or Dine but she respects the humor of the menu, I 8 NYC loves the light and delicious fare at the new Acme Bar & Grill, and the Pink Pig enjoys a special occasion meal at SD26.