For the big review this week, Pete Wells files on Orchard Street sensation Mission Chinese Food. The critic loves Danny Bowien's food: "Mr. Bowien does to Chinese food what Led Zeppelin did to the blues. His cooking both pays respectful homage to its inspiration and takes wild, flagrant liberties with it. He grabs hold of tradition and runs at it with abandon, hitting the accents hard, going heavy on the funk and causing all kinds of delicious havoc." Wells awards two stars to Mission Chinese Food. [NYT]
Ryan Sutton is disappointed by many of the dishes at Reynards: "Dinner might begin with guinea hen, the leg braised into musky tenderness and paired with a puree of peas sweet as whipped cream. That’s on a good night. Another time, you might encounter an unremarkable duck leg with chanterelles, a bland and chewy beef tartare ($15) or a one-note gazpacho ($8) that delivers, in order of appearance, vinegar, acid and heartburn." Sutton gives Reynards one and a half stars. [Bloomberg]
Gael Greene loves the spicy food at Legend in Chelsea. On the crispy prawns: "From the first bite of giant prawn, chewing the shell, I get a rush of sweet shrimp and chili heat. I’ve never tasted anything like the sauceless sauté of these juicy critters, tossed with crisps of dried bell peppers, peanuts and celery. Nothing in the Szechuan wave of the late ‘70s was anything like it. Nothing I’ve tasted in the new millennium has hinted at it." [Insatiable Critic]
Adam Platt awards three stars to Pok Pok NY, and just one star to Mission Chinese Food. On the latter: "Eaten separately, or in tiny doses, Bowien’s antic, umami-bomb creations have a certain gut-busting charm. But with a handful of exceptions...the one-note, meat-centric focus on Sichuan cuisine sent my fellow diners and me into a peppery, protein-induced death spiral from which there was little relief or escape." [NYM]
Tejal Rao is not impressed by Joe Isidori's food at Arthur on Smith: " The dishes that miss at Arthur on Smith don't appear to be assembled by a Michelin-starred chef, but rather by a worn-out grandmother who wants nothing more than to sit the fuck down with a glass of Scotch, if only we'd stop asking her to make us that gnocchi in pork ragu." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Andrea Scott of Tables For Two adores Perla, Robert Sietsema like the tapas but not the entrees at El Mio Cid in Bushwick, Ligaya Mishan enjoys most of the food at Mexicocina in the Bronx, and Stan Sagner finds stellar Korean fare at Hahm Ji Bach in Flushing.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a B plus to Carlos Suarez's Rosemary's, the Immaculate Infatuation dudes offer a guide to Hamptons dining, Eat Big Apple is impressed by Conrad Gallagher's cuisine at the Purple Fig, The Pink Pig approves of the fish sandwich at Lake Trout, Goodies First digs the chicken for two at The Nomad, Chekmark Eats proclaims that the fried chicken at Bobwhite Counter is "damn good," NYC Foodie samples the peppery fare at Mission Chinese Food, and NY Journal likes the food and the prices at Rosemary's.
[Photo: Angela Pham]