This week, Pete Wells files on La Vara, the new Spanish restaurant in Cobble Hill from Alex Raij and Eder Montero. Wells loves many of the small plates here, some of which taste more interesting than they look. On the noodle dish fideuà:
Brown, broken and floppy, the noodles look like a halfhearted attempt to disguise last night’s pasta. All leftovers should fare so well. Surrounded by tiny squid, clams and shrimp, cooked until done and not an instant longer, the fideuà tastes a little like toasted durum wheat and a lot like the dripping-wet haul from a Valencian fishing net.Although there are a few dishes that don't quite succeed, the hits outnumber the misses, and Wells digs the restaurant's unusual Jewish and Moorish influences. The critic gives an enthusiastic two stars to La Vara. [NYT]
Ryan Sutton visits chef Todd Mitgang's Crave Fishbar in Turtle Bay: "Mitgang exhibits deftness with his seafood and meats, coating baby octopus with a succulent veal glace and musky maitake mushrooms. He renders all the fat out of lamb ribs, and cuts any remaining richness with a tomatillo salsa. Lobster ($31) is overcurried, but the heady crustacean can stand up to it all. Sop up the juices with egg fried rice and skip the ho-hum desserts." Sutton gives the restaurant one and a half stars. [Bloomberg]
Stan Sagner of the Daily News reviews Latin newcomer Comodo in Soho: "Sea Scallops ($28) were nicely seared and paired with the same chipotle cream borrowed from the lamb burgers, but an aggressive, gratuitous truffle oil infusion in an avocado sauce made for a funky, overpowering finish. Coffee-rubbed Cochinita ($24) was a bigger disappointment; the pork offered scant evidence of the promised citrus flavors and was accompanied by a bland blob of undersalted mashed potatoes." [NYDN]
Tejal Rao likes the vibe and the food at Neta in Greenwich Village: "Neta is not a posh, fishy temple erected for New York's sushi-loving suits and their expense accounts (though you'll find a few of those guys here). It's small, stark, friendly—an excellent place to go for a beer and a few small plates, or to allow yourself some good sushi. If you're feeling a bit spendy, get a taste of everything with an omakase ($95 or $135), many small dishes in a thoughtful sequence." [VV]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan finds some winning dishes along with a few big misfires at The Toucan and the Lion, Shauna Lyon of Tables For Two likes the simple seafood plates and the beach shack vibe of Brooklyn Crab, and Robert Sietsema writes that Tacos Cachanilla in Sunset Park is "one of the city's most fully evolved taquerias."
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a B plus to Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side, the Immaculate Infatuation boys are blown away by Daniel, Eat Big Apple is impressed with Mads Refslund's fare at Acme, The Food Doc has a mostly stellar meal at Pok Pok NY, NYC Foodie likes the food and the vibe at Ken & Cook, and NY Journal encounters some duds as well as some tasty dishes at Sripraphai.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]