This week, Pete Wells Files on Biang! the new sit-down restaurant in Flushing from Jason Wang of Xi'an Famous Foods. The dining room is nicer than the ones at the Xi'an outposts, but the food still packs a big punch. He loves those spicy dishes:
The one called “spicy and tingly beef with wide hand-ripped noodles” brings the hypnotic pairing of chiles and Sichuan peppercorn to bits of deeply concentrated braised beef. “Spicy and sour diced pork meat,” meanwhile, is a sauce that revels in oppositions: the sharp edge of black vinegar versus the supple fattiness of pork, the soothing spice-cake flavor of star anise against the fury of roasted dried chiles.Wells notes that there are a few service hiccups, and inconsistency can be a problem. But overall, the critic approves of this update on the Xi'an Famous Foods formula, and gives the restaurant one star. [NYT]
Then there is the biang biang dish that almost everyone gets, lamb noodles seasoned with longhorn peppers and with cumin so intensely fragrant that it seems to penetrate every taste bud you have.
Ryan Sutton is not impressed by Rosemary's: "The $70 carne misti is so-so poussin and pork ribs; if only the smoked lamb shoulder was a stand-alone entree. Acqua pazza ($55), a stew of orata, mussels, shrimp and squid, lacks the aromatic depth of flavor you might find in a good bouillabaisse. And the $80 strip steak, while expertly charred, has none of the heady mineral taste that you might encounter at Minetta Tavern or The Dutch." He gives the restaurant one star. [Bloomberg]
The Robs award three U.G. stars to Lulu & Po, the new Fort Greene restaurant from Matthew Hamilton: "Chef Hamilton has a way with the fruits and veggies. He garnishes perfectly roasted beets and their greens with yogurt and pecans; he pairs avocados with crème fraîche and chopped peanuts; his salade niçoise is spot-on; and he yields to none in the art of mingling heirloom tomatoes with local peaches and housemade mozzarella." [GS]
Steve Cuozzo awards two stars to Calliope in the East Village. Although he likes the restaurant overall, the critic notes: "Calliope’s no groundbreaker, but it can be a back-breaker. Chairs are hard, seating cramped. And not every dish was wonderful. Provencal tomato tart, a house pride, emerged soggy and composed mainly of peppers. Swiss chard dumplings they call “malfatti” were dull and doughy, and octopus salad as ordinary as can be." [NYP]
Robert Sietsema checks out the first NYC location of Japanese mega-chain Ootaya: "Although we didn't fancy the sashimi, some of the sushi is better, including examples of the Osaka style: pressed in a box, topped with pickled mackerel or salmon, then sliced into bite-size rectangles. There's also a magnificent futomaki ($21) so big it could almost double as a baseball bat, stuffed with egg, shrimp, eel, and pickled veggies. The roll enters theatrically swaddled in mottled bamboo bark, with mushrooms, greens, and pickled ginger on the side as bit players." [VV]
Michael Kaminer visits Ken & Cook, the new restaurant in the old Travertine space: "The kitchen maintains altitude with mains. The home run: An immaculate 20-ounce New York Strip Steak ($39) — judiciously cooked medium-rare as ordered, charred just enough at the edges, and tingling in spots from kisses of roasted garlic. A paper cone of frites in a tin cup accompanies; steaming inside, they carry just enough crunch. Pair this with one of the heartier brews on tap, like Belgium’s Kwak ($10) and the dining-room tumult recedes." He gives the restaurant two and a half stars out of five. [NYDN]
Jay Cheshes is charmed by Calliope in the East Village: "A sort of Franco-Iberian bouillabaisse features flaky halibut and miniature mussels in a saffron-infused broth, with an oversize crouton slathered in sweet-spicy romesco. There’s a Slavic touch to the roasted chicken, the dark meat folded into a stuffed cabbage bundle, the bias-cut breast crisped up in duck fat." He awards three stars. [TONY]
THE BLOGS: Carey Jones of Serious Eats writes that Lotus Blue in Tribeca is an "unfortunate disappointment," the Immaculate Infatuation boys are not impressed by the Nomad Rooftop, Eat Big Apple digs the simple food at Pier NYC, NYC Foodie samples the vegetarian fare at Chennai Garden, Chekmark Eats loves the bison sliders and everything else at B & B, and the Feisty Foodie finds a great gyro sandwich at bZ Grill in Astoria.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]