This week, Pete Wells files on Andy Ricker's Pok Pok Ny in the Columbia Waterfront District. It's not easy to get to from Manhattan, and you'll certainly have to wait when you get there. But the technicolor Thai food makes up for the hassle:
...I was thrilled to taste more remarkable dishes than the table could hold: prawns in smoky noodles simmered with soy and ginger in a clay pot; an eggy pancake of juicy, sweet mussels with garlic chives; a stunningly complex pork laap. Compared with other pork laaps I’ve had, this one seemed to have eight or nine extra dimensions. The memory of it will be enough to keep me docile next time I wait for a table.Wells does note a few service hiccups and the occasional dish that doesn't impress. But overall, he deems the restaurant worthy of two stars. [NYT]
Steve Cuozzo drops a zero-star slam of Scott Disick's Ryu: "'I hope you’re not copying our recipes,' the waiter chuckled when he caught me using a camera. Rest assured! Except for a few plausible but overpriced entrees ($32 for a morsel of king salmon), most of the “izakaya”-style (casual boozing and noshing) menu would be at home at any saloon happy hour." Cuozzo fans, do take a minute to read the whole review. [NYP]
Ryan Sutton gives Danny Bowien's Mission Chinese Food two and a half stars: "The bacon is a pan-Chinese dish of sorts, with sweet yuba as a hat tip to Taiwan, chewy rice cakes as a nod to Shanghai and Benton’s pork as a curtsy to Hunan (by way of Tennessee). You notice a tickle on your tongue that lasts for 30 seconds. That’s because Bowien seasons the rice cakes with Sichuan peppercorns, famous for their numbing properties. Maybe you’ve experienced such a sensation at fine venues like Legend or Cafe China? At Mission, you get a cleaner, longer high." [Bloomberg]
This week, Gael Greene files on pricey London import Hakkasan: "Truth is, I like the food. I almost actually love most of what I tasted in two visits. It’s the perfect place to go when your son the Hedge Fund genius is treating or if your best friend is dating a Russian oil oligarch." [Insatiable Critic]
Tejal Rao encounters some hits and misses at Sean Rembold and Andrew Tarlow's Reynards. On a dish that works: "The salad special one evening, a bowlful of half-wilted, stemmy greens with lardons and croutons, was the kind of dish to have seduced you at Diner in the early days—a dish that offers the illusion of being thrown together carelessly, which as anyone who styles his or her hair will know, requires a certain amount of attention to detail." [VV]
Michael Kaminer gives three stars to Mathieu Palombino's Bowery Diner: "In a neighborhood with few friendly or fairly priced options, The Bowery Diner makes a welcome addition. But it’s not quite yet the dependable, go-to spot it’s aspiring to become. Treat it like any other diner: Stick with the basics, steer clear of fancier fare, and you may walk away sated." [NYDN]
Jay Cheshes also reviews Reynards in the Wythe Hotel: "Reynards is the new cool kid on the block without ever trying to be, a Balthazar for Brooklyn, urbane and ambitious, mature and low-key. Its chef, Sean Rembold, of Diner and Marlow, serves casual breakfast and lunch to a drop-in crowd, including a terrifically earthy grass-fed burger...Rembold’s thoughtful food, portioned to satisfy and priced to move, mostly speaks for itself." He gives the restaurant four stars out of five. [TONY]
THE ELSEWHERE: Robert Sietsema digs the traditional Yemeni dishes at Yemen Cafe in Bay Ridge, Tables for Two is underwhelmed by Francesca on the Lower East Side, and Ligaya Mishan loves the Japanese small plates at Yopparai.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives an A minus to Don Antonio, the Immaculate Infatuation boys have a great time at Mission Chinese Food, Eat Big Apple gives three out of five stars to Takashi, The Pink Pig is disappointed on a return visit to The Dutch, NYC Foodie loves the food and the vibe at Pok Pok NY, and despite some tasty food, New York Journal thinks that David Chang is phoning it in at Ma Peche.