This week, Pete Wells files on Neta, the new Village sushi restaurant from Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau. Both chefs worked under sushi master Masa Takayama, but Wells finds that the menu here is "more American than Masa." The critic is blown away by the quality of the sushi and the scope of the menu:
Had a friend with a fish allergy not told me that she’d eaten an extremely satisfying vegetarian dinner at Neta, I might have read that section of the menu with as much attention as I give to sponsored posts on Twitter. Curious, I tried grilled shiitake caps pressed around rice, a lotus root roll with minty shiso and another roll of asparagus tempura. They were some of the purest vegetable preparations I’ve tasted all spring.The setting is somewhat drab, and the food is pricey, but Wells notes that "you can tell yourself that you just saved hundreds of dollars by not eating at Masa." He awards the restaurant an enthusiastic two stars. [NYT]
Ryan Sutton slams pricey London import Hakkasan: "Almond-coated soft shell crabs ($22) are gritty and tasteless. Black bean lobster, with no aromatic shell or stock, might as well be $59 worth of maritime mystery meat. Hakkasan is less about exposing New Yorkers to traditional Chinese luxuries, than using expensive Western ingredients in vaguely Eastern dishes as a DJ plays club music." He gives the restaurant a half star rating. [Bloomberg]
The Robs award four U.G. stars to Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side: "The ham that enriches a comforting bowl of chewy rice cakes comes from pork whisperer Allan Benton, and the fried rice’s “Chinese sausage” is custom-cured by Salumeria Biellese...All these details translate into an experience that’s interpretively Yunnanese, respectfully Chinese, and stylistically New York." [NYM]
Robert Sietsema finds a boring vibe and some unsuccessful dishes at Greek newcomer Boukies, but there are a few highlights: "You can skip the leadoff section called Small Bites, which features stuffed grape leaves served stone cold and Tuscan-style topped toasts. Instead, hasten over to the meat-bearing meze. In order of delectability, you might first select a pair of small pita sandwiches ($12) bulging with unctuous lamb and so good you'll be dreaming about them the minute your head hits the pillow. " [VV]
Gael Greene is mostly impressed by the spicy fare at Singapura in Curry Hill: "Go to Singapura to revel in a full peppery blast. Don’t bother if you’re not into the burn. It’s probably silly to hit this tricked-out narrow little storefront in Curry Hill for anything less than the multi-lingual flavors of Thailand, Malaysia, India and Hakka China, at least as Singapura attempts them." [Insatiable Critic]
Steve Cuozzo awards two stars to Cornelius Gallagher's Dragonfly: "Gallagher set out to interpret Southeast Asian “street food” and larger dishes through a New York prism. Of course, a lot of chefs say that. When it works at Dragonfly, it blows your mind — but not your bank account, thanks to main courses priced mostly under $25." [NYP]
Jay Cheshes gives four stars to Andy Ricker's Pok Pok NY: "Ricker goes the extra mile to get the condiments right. He accompanies the room-temperature pork neck slices in his 'Thai drinking food,' muu kham waan—as it’s described on the informative menu—with raw mustard greens delivered under a crunch-intensifying heap of crushed ice. His extra-rustic house-cured pork sausage comes with even more crudités, with crispy cabbage and long beans for dipping into green chili naam phrik num (a medium-spicy chutney of sorts)." [TONY]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan likes the food but dislikes the vibe at Catch, Manhattan magazine's Adeena Sussman deems The Nomad worthy of three and a half stars, and Tejal Rao is impressed by the ramen at the recently revamped Zutto in Tribeca.
THE BLOGS: The guys from Immaculate Infatuation have a fun time at Clyde Frazier's Wine and Dine, Gotham Gal loves the food that's served at Riverpark's farm table, Goodies First doesn't love the barbecue at Mable's Smokehouse, Eat Big Apple checks out Geisha Table on the UWS, NY Journal thinks that Perla lives up to the hype, and Checkmark Eats samples the pizza and the branzino at Gnocco.
· All Coverage of Week in Reviews [~ENY~]