This week, Pete Wells files on the biggest opening of 2012, The Nomad. Although Wells has nitpicks about the service, the bread, and the upholstery, he thinks the restaurant is worthy of three stars. The critic is won over by chef Daniel Humm's relaxed fine dining cuisine:
The NoMad takes recipes developed in Mr. Humm’s kitchen at Eleven Madison Park and translates them into a more open and generous style. Dishes fastidiously set in place by surgical tweezers to create the intimacy, delicacy and artfulness expected in a $125 four-course menu have been simplified, painted with broader strokes in a more relaxed hand that suits à la carte dining.Wells gives special attention to the suckling pig, the milk and honey dessert, the cocktails, and the majestic chicken for two, which he calls "a dish from another era, when chicken breast was still seen as a worthy canvas for great chefs." [NYT]
Robert Sietsema is impressed by the bizarre pies that are served at Pete Zaaz in Crown Heights: "The baked-potato pie is revolutionary. The rollicking crew has experimented with other oddball pies, but none can quite match it. Of the two menus that Zaaz has fielded since opening, plus a few experimental pizzas offered temporarily, the Mexico chorizo ($17) is the best, with a zesty tomato sauce, queso blanco, pickled onions, nuggets of skinless sausage, and—odd man out—slivers of kiwi. The fruit enhances the visual appeal while multiplying moisture, but frankly, if you closed your eyes and took a bite, you'd never shout 'Kiwi!'" [VV]
Ryan Sutton awards just one star to Andy Ricker's Pok Pok NY: "Muddy mustard greens are garnished with under-rendered pork ribs ($12). Brussels sprouts ($10) never arrive, but you’re charged for them anyway. The waitress might forget your order. Patrons raid the service stations for napkins or chopsticks when staffers disappear." [Bloomberg]
Gael Greene likes the space and some of the dishes at Yoppari Sake Bar: "Rectangles of homemade tofu in a kelp-dashi-soy broth come in yet another wooden crib with do-it-yourself condiments: grated ginger, shiso and dried bonito. I take a bite, waiting for the earth to move as it has in the past with fresh made tofu. The ground holds. The soft jelly is very good but not quite cosmic. I think it needed to be less chilled." [Insatiable Critic]
Daily News critic Michael Kaminer is disappointed by Andrew Tarlow and Sean Rembold's Reynards in Williamsburg: "Considering Tarlow and Rembold’s track record, and what seem like good intentions, it’s a shame food feels like a secondary focus here. But the duo has never managed the demands of an all-day restaurant with perpetual crowd flow, and the strain’s already evident. You have to walk before you run, as our server lamented about Reynards’ wobbly kitchen. Reynards seems to have stumbled out of the gate." The brand new critic gives the restaurant two stars out of five. [NYDN]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan thinks the tasting menu at Battersby is a steal of a deal, Steve Cuozzo is pleased by the influx of new quality restaurants in central Harlem, Tejal Rao loves the baked goods and not much else at Landbrot, and Tables for Two finds that the food at Pok Pok NY makes up for the hassle of getting a table.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A minus to Xi'an Famous Foods spinoff Biang!, the Immaculate Infatuation dudes aren't completely won over by the food or the vibe at Francesca, Eat Big Apple loves the English grub at Jones Wood Foundry, The Food Doc samples the spicy fare at Mission Chinese Food, Goodies First checks out the Alpine cuisine at the revamped Paprika on St. Marks Place, Chekmark Eats recommends the appetizers and small plates at Balaboosta, and New York Journal is charmed by Calliope in the East Village.
· All Coverage of Week in Reviews [~ENY~]