This week, Pete Wells files on Perla, Gabe Stulman and Michael Toscano's new Village Italian restaurant. He writes that Toscano is cooking a "swaggering red-blooded version of Italian food." A few highlights :
In this comfortable setting, I’m happy to report, a great deal of the Manzo menu has been transplanted with very slight amendments. The beef that was a specialty of Manzo reappears, to glorious effect. Here is the suave tartare of beef from the Razza breed of Piedmontese cattle; here is the squared-off braised and grilled tongue, soft as ice cream at the beach (though it called out for a more forceful sauce).Some dishes don't work as well as they could, the wine list is pricey, and Wells wishes that the restaurant took reservations for small parties. In the end, the critic gives Perla two stars. [NYT]
Jay Cheshes awards three stars to Gwynnett St. in Williamsburg: "It takes some stones to serve such edgy food in a neighborhood tavern on a quiet corner of Brooklyn. What’s even more daring, though, is its departure from restaurant-world groupthink: Gwynnett St. isn’t immune to the grip of food trends, but the restaurant neatly subverts them to create food that feels brand new." [TONY]
Adam Platt finds some very good food at The Nomad, but he thinks the concept underwhelms, overall: "This is a hotel restaurant...which means Humm’s team is responsible for room service and a whole host of high-volume party events. As a result, there’s a vague assembly-line feel to the proceedings that is compounded by the prices." He deems the Nomad worthy of just two stars. [NYM]
Ryan Sutton is won over by Michael Toscano's food and the hip vibe at Perla: "Perla isn’t for everyone, and this 65-seat spot is no Babbo-killer. Still, with a packed house and first rate macaroni, Perla is the city’s best new Italian restaurant in over a year." He gives the restaurant two stars. [Bloomberg]
Robert Sietsema enjoys most of the food at Parish Hall in Williamsburg. He's particularly fond of the egg dishes: "The dinner menu at Parish Hall boasts several interesting preparations—including a soft-boiled egg with ham crumbs in a smoked-parsnip slurry—but the eatery really comes into its eggy own at brunch. At that meal, a pair of over-easies with brilliant orange yolks burst upon a wonderful "red flannel" hash of baby fingerlings, cubed beets, and corned lamb, while a sandwich of soft-scrambled eggs boasts three slices of lamb bacon so smoky, you'll think there's a fire in the building next door." [VV]
Gael Greene likes most of Cornelius Gallagher's pan-Asian creations at Dragonfly: "The whole branzino is exquisitely cooked in a bamboo leaf, delicate and moist, perfumed with lemongrass and kaffir in a dashi broth. I would expect no less. The Crying Tiger Skirt Steak served with wasabi Tater Tots has an unusual exterior crunch that I like, but the portion seems rather skimpy. Still entrees are gently priced, running from $17.95 to $25.95 for whole fish and steak." [Insatiable Critic]
THE ELSEHWERE: Tables for Two digs the flavors and textures of Matthew Lightner's food at Atera, the Voice's Tejal Rao samples the brand new $65 dessert tasting in the Salon at Per Se, and Oliver Strand is smitten with the fruity creations at Melvin’s Juice Box.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a B plus to the Malaysian dishes at Laut, the guys from Immaculate Infatuation think that Pok Pok NY lives up to the hype, The Feisty Foodie digs the mussels and the tacos al pastor at 5 Burro, Chekmark Eats is blown away by Empellon Cocina, New York Journal is not wowed by the Spanish fare at My Moon in Williamsburg, Eat Big Apple is impressed with the Asian fusion fare at Social Eatz, and The Food Doc has an exhilarating meal at Atera.