Starting off with the lede, "If Kutsher’s Tribeca were a musical, it would be 'Springtime for Hitler,'" Pete Wells wonders if Kutsher's, the Jewish restaurant in Tribeca owned by the wily Jeffrey Chodorow and Borscht Belt scion Zach Kutsher was designed to fail. But he notes that place is packed, everyone's having fun, and "when the kitchen isn’t trying too hard, Kutsher’s turns all the jokes about Jewish cooking upside down. Which is to say: The food here’s not bad." He awards it one star:
In other main dishes, the effort increases and the returns diminish. A welter of mushrooms and caramelized onions and a knish that stands up on the plate like Devils Tower are distractions from a very tasty prime skirt steak. Salmon is hidden under a falafel crumble that lacks confidence, as if it knows it doesn’t belong. Reinventing flanken is a noble idea, but turning it into red-wine-braised short ribs with mashed potatoes, a dish served at a hundred other restaurants, may not be the ideal way to go about it.But hey, at least the matzoh ball soup has "robust flavor and lip-smacking stickiness." [NYT]
Jordana Rothman enjoys but also isn't totally blown away by Kutsher's in Tribeca: "...you needn’t know the source material to enjoy a meal at Kutsher’s Tribeca—the food here speaks for itself. But keeping both novelty-seekers and serious diners on board will be an ongoing challenge. Should the chef cave to easy gimmicks, the place could go the way of the borscht belt in a hurry." [TONY]
Adam Platt awards two stars to Jeffrey Chodorow's "rashly conceived, surprisingly accomplished" Tribeca restaurant Kutsher's: "Kutsher’s executive chef, Mark Spangenthal, has worked at top kitchens around the city, and if there’s a problem with his radical interpretations of these ancient dishes, it’s that some of them are actually too good." [NYM]
According to Tables for Two the food makes up for the other issues at Ciano: "With popularity come a few problems—the wait for your table can feel interminable, and the service can be more than sloppy—but who cares if a Martini lands in your lap when the food on your plate tastes like heaven?" [New Yorker]
Lauren Shockey has fun sampling the many strong cocktails and the not so bad food at new Chinatown hotspot Pulqueria: "The food is certainly better here than you might expect, but the libations are what will lure you back...The novelty factor of Pulqueria runs high, and with style somewhat trumping substance, it's easy to view the place as a party trick. But it does make for a pretty fun party." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Robert Sietsema finds Kavkazi food (Siberian/Georgian) in Ditmas Park at Kavkaz, Ryan Sutton drops some serious cash at Eleven Madison Park and awards it four stars, Dave Cook learns that Queens' Butcher Bar delivers both as a meat counter and as a restaurant, and Gael Greene loves the space of Caffe Storico within the Historical Society but writes that for every kitchen score, there's a miss.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats calls the $125 tasting menu at Torrisi Italian Specialties fun, Eat Big Apple recommends Mr. Robata despite its Times Square location, NY Journal is pleased to find good service in addition to great food at Acme, the Pink Pig accepts the owners' invite to dine at the Toucan and the Lion and finds a lot to like, The Food Doc has a rave for North End Grill, NYC Foodie finds some hits at Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria, Chekmark Eats notes that Supper in the East Village is still going strong, and Immaculate Infatuation writes that The Good Fork is not the best restaurant they've been to, but it's probably the best restaurant in Red Hook.