This week, Pete Wells files a two star rave for Williamsburg's Gwynnett St., the new restaurant from wd~50 vet Justin Hilbert. He finds surprisingly polished service, and a menu of dishes that are complex, but always satisfying. On the lamb:
Across the table, two planks of brown-butter-roasted carrot lay alongside two strips of slow-cooked lamb breast, crisp and richly melting. The sauce was thick, saffron-colored yogurt that tasted of carrots. Crumbled rye toast with caraway and brown butter lent an Eastern European flavor. And what was that grassy herb? A sprig of carrot tops?Wells suggests that the dining room could use some better lighting and maybe a few softer touches, but ultimately, he deems Gwynnett St. to be a restaurant worth seeking out, if only for the food: "Mr. Hilbert’s style of cuisine is not yet common in this pocket of Williamsburg. In fact, cooking this sophisticated would be a find anywhere in New York." [NYT]
Like almost everything at Gwynnett St., that lamb breast is not as simple as it looks, but its complications work together to build a marvelous sense of harmony.
Adam Platt awards one star to Alison Eighteen, the new Flatiron restaurant from Alison Price Becker: "...if you’re pining for a neighborly place that offers the little touches that New Yorkers from another dining era used to take for granted when they dropped $100 on dinner out and a nice bottle of wine...you could do an awful lot worse." [NYM]
Meanwhile, Steve Cuozzo finds a comfortable room and solid food at Alison Eighteen: "Is New York ready for a grown-up restaurant? Alison Eighteen conjures Manhattan dining 15 years ago, before places with $35 entrees devolved into mosh pits. Co-owner and guiding spirit Alison Price Becker recaptures the civilized era pre-9/11, before downtown’s frozen zone doomed her romantic eatery, Alison on Dominick, near the Holland Tunnel." He gives it two stars. [ NYP]
Gael Greene is amused by the theatricality of Brasserie Pushkin, and finds some good dishes on the menu there: "The excess is amusing. I feel I might have been Russian in another life... I’ll be back for that crab salad. And perhaps the pelmeni in broth...With time, the kitchen might get humming. For now I’m enjoying the theater." [Insatiable Critic]
Ryan Sutton finds some winning dishes along with a few pricey flops at Danny Meyer's North End Grill: "Boredom occasionally threatens. Balsamic glazed salmon ($27) is like any other version circa 1989. Same goes for scallops and cauliflower ($30). But the chef sets things right with halibut ($29). Pine nuts, coriander, saffron and clam juice merge and the result is sublime." He deems the restaurant worthy of two and a half stars. [Bloomberg]
THE ELSEWHERE: Adeena Sussman of Manhattan magazine awards two stars to Alison Eighteen, Ligaya Mishan samples newfangled grilled cheese sandwiches around the city, Tables for Two loves chef Michael Berardino's meaty creations at The Cannibal, and Robert Sietsema finds good appetizers, a bad vibe, high prices, and entrees that don't work at The Brooklyn Wok Shop.
THE BLOGS: The bloggers from Immaculate Infatuation are not impressed with Bowery Diner, New York Journal finds that the new dining room makes Molyvos an agreeable place to sample classic Greek food, Chekmark Eats is blown away by the food at Red Farm, The Feisty Foodies has a blow-out small plates feast at Casellula, Serious Eats samples the cocktails at Ginny's Supper Club, NYC Foodie loves the classics at Gotham Bar & Grill, and Eatery Row encounters some hits and misses at David Burke at Bloomingdale's.