This week, Pete Wells files on M. Wells Dinette, a lunch-only restaurant inside of MoMa PS1 in Long Island City. The dishes coming out of chef Hugue Dufour's kitchen are not always perfect, but the hits outweigh the misses:
The menus, which change daily, can be read as methodical studies in the uses of animal fat. Cured pork belly binds an expertly made terrine of rabbit shot through with pink ovals of foie gras. The rich oils of smoked herring bring depth to a surprisingly light Caesar salad with broccoli.Wells also praises the work of pastry chef Bethany Costello. Although some dishes fall short of their promise, Wells deems the restaurant worthy of two stars. [NYT]
One of my companions described the thin slices of fried bread served with a classic brandade as "crisp butter." There is also smooth, spreadable butter, on an open-face sandwich of bottarga served with a shot glass of the anise-flavored spirit arak, and flaky layered butter in the crust on a slice of Mr. Dufour's justifiably renowned Québécois meat pie, which overflows with the flesh of four or five species of animal.
Ryan Sutton gives two and a half stars to Thirty Acres, the new Jersey City restaurant from Momofuku Noodle Bar vet Kevin Pemoulie: "Pemoulie loves intense flavors. He jolts the palate with the gentle pain of heat throughout your meal. Oysters (never too cold, never messily shucked), are paired with a dollop of beet cocktail sauce. Your nose begins to run. Cod collar ($12) is a fatty, sticky slice of fish that soaks up salty soy and more jalepeno. Braised chuck flap, meltingly tender, is finished with a generous shaving of sinus-clearing fresh horseradish ($27). And cavatelli ($14) are jazzed with so many chilies you might think you're in a Sichuan restaurant." [Bloomberg]
Tejal Rao loves the food at The Pines in Gowanus: "Hot, creamy Japanese yams ($14) arrived whole in their skins, split open, loaded with a dense buttermilk froth, tiny anchovies, raw hearts of palm, and cilantro on tender stems. Sounds odd, but it articulated the power of a kitchen to rouse and cheer. Layers of softness, rich with umami, warmed us right through. As chef Angelo Romano's food hit, it felt for an evening as if everything would be all right." [VV]
Stan Sagner awards four stars (out of five) to Pok Pok NY: "Laap Pet Isaan ($16), a spicy duck salad, is delightfully insidious. Like a tsunami, its flavors first hit your palate in small waves. The first conjures a deconstructed banh mi – rich duck meat and liver, the fresh crunch of vegetables. The second brings acid and depth – lime, lemongrass, coriander. Then, pow! A swell of heat rushes in and your hairline suddenly resembles Niagara Falls." [NYDN]
Jay Cheshes is a big fan of M. Wells Dinette: "Gone are the two-hour waits for a table, the manic kitchen's short-order quarters. The menu is smaller these days, the hours more civilized, and the food—wait for it—is far more subdued. Which isn't to say that M. Wells, even in its scaled-back incarnation, isn't still one of the city's most exciting places to eat. It's a museum canteen, certainly, but unlike any other." The critic gives the restaurant four stars out of five. [TONY]
Adam Platt slams the new Uptown location of Il Mulino: "'These make me want to eat real baked clams,' said one of my guests as she poked at a platoon of listless, peanut-size vongole casino, which appeared to have been hastily dusted with bread crumbsfrom a box. My helping of $24 scampi oreganata contained just two rubbery, recently defrosted "jumbo" shrimp, and the gummy slivers of tuna in my neighbor's $26 carpaccio di tonno had been imprisoned in the refrigerator for so long that she had to scrape them from the edge of her plate." Zero stars. [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene thinks that Sugar & Plumm offers a mixed bag, Shauna Lyon of Tables for Two is won over by Rosemary's, Robert Sietsema files on three Brooklyn ramen restaurants, and Ligaya Mishan approves of Rustic L.E.S.
THE BLOGS: Eat Big Apple likes the pho at Cyclo, Serious Eats checks out Gran Electrica, the Immaculate Infatuation guys recommend Almayass, NYC Foodie digs the lunch offerings at Porsena Extra-Bar, Chekmark Eats is a big fan of El Toro Blanco, Goodies First files favorably on both Chao Thai Too and Zabb Elee, and NY Journal approves of the food coming out of the kitchen at Pig and Khao.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]