Like other critics before him, Pete Wells does not love the location and the dining room at North End Grill, but he finds that the food and the overall experience merit two stars. On some of Floyd Cardoz's dishes:
That pumpkin soup had a deep, pasilla-chile warmth that made the fat lumps of peekytoe crab taste all the more sweet. The cauliflower with those scallops had a low rumble of cumin. Shaved brussels sprouts were crisp, not gummy, and hummed with mustard seeds and curry leaves.The critic remarks that this project allows Cardoz to "simply cook," and the results are great, for the most part. Wells also gives a special shout-out to Alexandra Ray's pastry creations.
The halibut came at me from all directions. Fried shallots and ginger with roasted pine nuts brought a toasty crunch. Around the fish was a clam broth with the smoke of chipotles, the licorice tease of anise, the perfume of coriander seeds. It is high on the list of the least boring halibut dishes I’ve ever tasted.
Steve Cuozzo thinks the food has improved at Loi over the past few months, but he doesn't like the atmosphere and he's annoyed by the presence of Greek celebrity chef Maria Loi: "Loi is a welcome Greek addition to the Upper West Side — but its hype machine makes you want to hop the N train to Astoria and not look back." The Cuozz awards Loi one and a half stars. [NYP]
Adam Platt awards just one star to Danny Meyer's North End Grill. He doesn't care for the location or the dining room, and although he likes some of Floyd Cardoz's dishes, the menu fails to excite him overall. Platt also takes issue with the service: "Plates sometimes languish on the table between courses, and on one early visit, our waiter became flustered by the barrage of restaurant-critic orders and forgot to bring our appetizers altogether." [NYM]
Gael Greene finds that former Fleur de Sel chef Cyril Renaud is back on his A-Game at La Quenelle, his new restaurant in the old Bar Breton Space. It's not a hip place, but a lot of the food looks and tastes great. She notes: "It’s hard to imagine a stylish buzz in this place. But old friends of Fleur are already here." [Insatiable Critic]
Jay Cheshes enjoys most of the food at Bowery Diner, but feels that the space and the service need a bit of development: "In a city where good bistros and diners are both dying breeds, the Bowery Diner fills two voids at once. But those institutions have always worn their years with pride. As the new kid on the block, this one just needs some time to start showing its scuff marks." [TONY]
Ryan Sutton finds that chef Mads Refslund "occasionally miscalculates his gastronomic multiplication tables" at Acme. Some dishes come out too salty and other are not flavorful enough. The critic also experiences sloppy service and an oblivious host staff. The takeaway: "Sadly, Acme is less an ambassador for Denmark’s vibrant food scene as it is an examplar of how willingly Manhattan diners allow themselves to be treated like widgets." Sutton awards the restaurant one star. [Bloomberg]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan likes the homemade Spam and gourmet loco moco at Lani Kai, Robert Sietsema finds delectable South African fare at Braai in Midtown, and Tables for Two is not thrilled by the food or the portion sizes at Caffe Storico in the New York Historical Society.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A- to promising newcomer Gwynett St. in Williamsburg, Gotham Gal says that Super Linda recalls La Esquina in its heyday, Chekmark Eats likes everything but the desserts at Bondst, Feisty Foodie loves the dan dan noodles at Wu Liang Ye, the guys from Immaculate Infatuation give Caffe Storico a 7.1, The Food Doc checks out some new dishes at Kin Shop, and New York Journal experiences decent food and bad service at Danji.