This week, Steve Cuozzo files a zero-star review of the Purple Fig, chef Conrad Gallagher's new Upper West Side project, calling it New York's "eeriest new restaurant." As Cuozzo describes it, the place is just a mess: weird service, bad food, and a strange vibe. His take on the menu:
Rich-flavored braised duck leg nearly redeemed “risotto” that was more accurately creamed rice. Mealy peas “replaced” asparagus. “Fricassee of enoki mushrooms and summer morels” with a miserly cut of swordfish ($29.95, if you must know) was 100 percent fricassee- and morel-free.Cuozzo notes that Gallagher is now listed as a "consulting chef" on the menu, and his sous chef is running the kitchen. The kicker: "The TV had 'The Three Stooges' on. Who said theme restaurants were over? Or can somebody tell me what the hell is going on here?" [NYP]
Between a waitress’ several determined attempts to pour tap water into our glasses of San Pellegrino — “I’m just making my water rounds, don’t worry about it” — a deep-fried soft egg salad arrived with yolk ice-cold and blood pudding congealed.
As noted yesterday, Pete Wells gives one star to Reynards in the Wythe Hotel. On the grilled dishes: "You can savor the smoke in the round oven-roasted clams, oysters and mussels served, with their juices, over thin toast slices. You can appreciate the way it turns grilled leaves of romaine lettuce with bread crumbs into a Caesar salad that has a beguiling edge of char. It burrows all the way through a roasted duck breast, making every scrap of meat worth whittling away from the bones." [NYT]
Robert Sietsema loves the food and the vibe at Rosemary's: "While one is often well-advised not to stray into secondi in Tuscan-style restaurants because the pastas are much better and cheaper, that would be a mistake at Rosemary's. Especially dope is the lamb leg ($23): four stout cubes of rare meat scented with smoke. Served with fruity mostarda, the porchettina (pork tenderloin) is also fab, but to take full advantage of what's happening on the roof, pick minestra di stagione ($18), a seasonal multi-vegetable casserole that demonstrates, once and for all, that a stew doesn't have to include flesh to be great." [VV]
Jay Cheshes is impressed by Carlo Mirarchi's menu at Blanca: "Given the price and format of dinner at Blanca, you might expect to be challenged, delighted and knocked off your feet. But the pleasures are much more quiet than that. Tasting menus this ambitious, in fact, are rarely quite so low-key. There’s a real grace to the simple pursuit of perfection on display, in one lovely course after another, from the restaurant’s vast showcase kitchen." He gives the restaurant four stars out of five. [TONY]
Michael Kaminer awards three stars out of five to Tokyo import Ootoya: "The kitchen can surprise, strutting its stuff on more complex appetizers. Homemade tofu ($5.50) sets a high bar with a creamy texture and flavor light years away from spongy store-bought soy. The bar staple Ika no shiokara ($6), translated here as “sliced raw squid cured in salt and a squid liver marinade,” is, to be polite, an acquired taste. But Ootoya’s caramel-colored rendition is fine, with tiny gelatinous strips whose puniness belies pitch-black organ notes." [NYDN]
Adam Platt awards two stars to Calliope in the East Village. He's a big fan of the pastas: "The two house pastas—eggy strips of pappardelle tossed with rabbit and English peas, malfatti ricotta dumplings with Swiss chard soaked in luxurious amounts of brown butter—are as good as anything you’ll find in the far-flung pasta empires of Messrs. Batali and White." [NYM]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ariel Levy of Tables for Two is annoyed by the scene at Super Linda, Ligaya Mishan is impressed by many of the dishes at Forager's City Table, Gael Greene likes the starters and desserts more than the pizzas at Nicoletta, and Tejal Rao digs the vibe and many of the small plates at Hillside.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a B plus to Almayass, The Immaculate Infatuation boys approve of Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side, Eat Big Apples samples an excellent steak and good sides at Christos Steakhouse in Queens, The Pink Pig not thrilled by the fried pizza at La Montanara, Chekmark Eats loves Lobster Joint in Greenpoint, NYC Foodie digs the brunch at Telepan, The Food Doc writes that Yunnan Kitchen is a "wonderful little restaurant," and NY Journal checks out the food options at Pier NYC on Roosevelt Island.
· All Coverage of Week in Reviews [~ENY~]