Many critics are off this week, presumably because of Hurricane Sandy. But Pete Wells keeps on rolling with a review of Park Slope hot spot Talde. The critic writes that the cooking on his first visit was "smart and skillful," and he notes that chef Dale Talde and owners John Bush and Dave Massoni were in the house that night, making sure that everything ran smoothly. His second meal was not so pleasant:
A few more minutes passed before we received a plate of squid and a hasty apology. "The kitchen lost your ticket," our server said. "Stuff blows around back there, so it blew away."The restaurant redeemed itself on a third visit, when Talde returned to the kitchen and the service was on-point. Wells urges the Talde Team to keep the same energy that it had during its first weeks in business. One star. [NYT]
By then we were about as hungry as it is possible to be inside a restaurant. Yet as more plates arrived, we finished almost nothing. The squid, billed as "charred lemon grass calamari salad," had no lemon grass flavor and no char, either; parts of the squid were still gelatinous.
Even less satisfying was the pad Thai with bacon and fried oysters. The noodles were so sweet that more than half a lime's worth of juice couldn't bring them back, the bacon was overbearing, and the oysters had no flavor except what they picked up while being fried to a listless shade of beige.
Adam Platt awards one star to Angolo Soho: "Most of the pastas at Angolo Soho...aren't as accomplished as those at the grand, multi-star pasta palaces around town, but if you're looking for a little sustenance while wandering this carb-challenged shopping mecca, you could do worse. The pasta experts at my table had trouble dissecting the clunky version of Ligurian-style pesto (made with thin trenette noodles, string beans, and too many potatoes), but nobody complained much about the serviceable tagliatelle Bolognese." [NYM/GS]
Gael Greene checks out the new options at the Todd English Food Hall at the Plaza Hotel: "One autumn Thursday, I found the concourse stands mostly tranquil if not deserted at 7pm. I sampled a custom-made Luke's lobster roll in its buttery, just-toasted bun beside an un-ironic guy eating a Luke's peanut butter whoopie pie with blueberries. Inside English's Food Hall proper, the joint was electric and jammed, waiters scurrying. I got to taste those lobster hush puppies—better than those I remembered from long ago in Mississippi. Mac and cheese came sizzling and toasted, neither too salty nor too cheesy..." [Manhattan Magazine]
Ryan Sutton awards an enthusiastic two and a half stars to La Vara in Cobble Hill: "Coastal Spain comes into brilliant focus here, with Valencian noodle paella ($16) meant for dousing in garlickly aioli ($16), and gnocchi-like Murcian pasta sprinkled with ground goat ($15). Andalusian skate, pulled apart by its ropy strands, is a ringer for New England fried-clam strips, minus the rubbery texture. With this, you drink beer." [Bloomberg]
THE BLOGS: Eat Big Apple is slightly disappointed by Txikito, the Pink Pig has a pleasant encounter with Bikinis in Alphabet City, Serious Eats visits Silk Rd Tavern, the Immaculate Infatuation guys enjoy the noodles at Pok Pok Phat Thai, Goodies First has a decent meal at Allswell, and New York Journal thinks that Hakkasan is worth a try if you don't mind the prices.
· All Review Coverage on Eater [~ENY~]