This week, Pete Wells files on Nougatine, the 15-year-old casual counterpart to Jean Georges. Amazingly, it had not been reviewed by the New York Times before this week. Wells is won over both by the chic redesign of the dining room, and the satisfying fare from Jean-Georges and chef de cuisine Mark Lapico:
Despite Nougatine's night-on-the-town gloss...the soul of the menu is not far from what you might cook at home — or, to be more realistic, what Mr. Vongerichten might cook if you came to his apartment on Perry Street. If the weather was hot, he might cut open a watermelon, whittle it down to cubes, arrange them in a circle like a pink Stonehenge, and scatter white fluffs of goat cheese all around.A few of the dishes don't work for Wells, and some tables are better than others. But overall, the critic likes where Nougatine is going these days. Wells gives the restaurant two stars. [NYT]
...A few dishes look so casual they seem to have been whipped up by Mr. Vongerichten and his chef de cuisine, Mark Lapico, after a morning run to the farmers' market, like the crisp chicken breast with summer squash and very gently roasted tomatoes. Does it sound ordinary? Try making it yourself, then go to Nougatine and get back to me.
Jay Cheshes thinks that Governor, the new restaurant from Brad McDonald and the Colonie team, still has some kinks to work out: "McDonald is a skilled technician with some great, funky ideas, but his instincts sometimes need work. Shrimp, corn and feta cream aren't ingredients that belong on the same plate, even when the shellfish and the miniature cobs are both beautifully seared. And it turns out that sirloin and watermelon aren't the great match nobody else thought of: The sous vide cooked meat and sweet compressed melon are visually gorgeous, but the mushy fruit and chewy beef lack flavor and punch." Cheshes gives the restaurant three stars out of five. [TONY]
Adam Platt awards one star to Rosemary's in the West Village. Although Plattypants likes the pastas, he finds that some of the entrees just don't work: "My purplish helping of skirt steak had a limp, even funky taste to it, and most of the seafood in the enticing-looking acqua pazza to-share platter (shrimp, mussels, and scallops, served over large chunks of toast) was overcooked." [NYM]
Gael Greene likes many of the Asian-accented dishes at Foragers City Table, but she concludes: "To be perfectly frank, I've not tasted anything here that would lure me back to 22nd Street from the Upper West Side. But l would welcome a market table like this in my territory and if I lived nearby, I'd certainly be back for lunch." [Insatiable Critic]
Tejal Rao finds that the Upper East Side's hottest new singles spot, The Penrose, serves some pretty decent food: "The fried pickles—nuggets of McClure's in golden cushions of beignet batter—are good for a few laughs. Fried chicken ($9)—two big, crisp pieces—arrived with nothing else, but they were cooked nicely and well seasoned. A wedge salad ($9) was an icebox cold, umami-rich throwback, scattered generously with bacon. Mac and cheese ($10) in a cast-iron saucepan was cute, though not wrapped in the deep, cheese-enriched béchamel that macaroni deserves." [VV]
Daily News critic Stan Sagner awards four stars (out of five) to Do or Dine: "In the category of Best Appetizer Inspired by a Children's story, the Foie Gras Doughnut ($11) wins hands down. Presumably snatched from the evil fictional fingers of Mr. Bunce in Roald Dahl's 'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' the dish had me scratching my head at first. It sounded, frankly, awful. Then came a piping hot classic Berliner stuffed with a plump nugget of foie gras, piped with a bit of blueberry jam and finally dusted with powdered sugar. It is plopped down on a plain jane white diner plate and one half-expects a cup of Joe delivered alongside. My skepticism was quickly silenced — the sweet, salty, fatty warm flavors marry beautifully making this all but impossible to share." [NYDN]
THE ELSEWHERE: Robert Sietsema discovers awesome Hyderabadi cuisine at Deccan Spice in Jersey City, Ligaya Mishan likes many of the dishes at Lulu & Po in Fort Greene, and Tables for Two visits Yunnan Kitchen on the Lower East Side.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats gives a solid B to Potlikker in Williamsburg, the Immaculate Infatuation boys like Parish Hall despite its spartan interior, Chekmark Eats finds good seafood at a great price at Fish in the West Village, The Food Doc gets and early taste of Ryan Skeen's 83 1/2, the Pink Pig pays a return visit to Gwynnett Street, Eat Big Apple is not blown away by the baked goods at Maison Kayser, NYC Foodie digs both the scene and the food at Rosemary's, and NY Journal is surprised by the quality of the food at Ken & Cook.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]