Instead of writing a restaurant review this week, Pete Wells goes on a taco safari, sampling some of the high-end specimens around the city. On the scallop tacos at Alex Stupak's Empellon Cocina: "I liked Mr. Stupak's version, although I might have liked it even more without the tortilla; those flavors weren't meant to blast their way through a wrapper made of flour. It is, however, as elegant a piece of intellectual grenade-throwing as I've ever seen in a restaurant. If this taco were displayed in an art gallery, and perhaps it should be, the catalog copy would tell us that it interrogates issues of class, immigration and ethnicity in fine dining." Wells also notes that Salvation Taco has changed the way it serves tacos since his goose-egg review. [NYT]
Ryan Sutton finds some hits and misses at Michael White's Costata: "Skip the porterhouse, as it boasts a level of dry-aging that borders on mushiness. The go-to cut is bone-in strip ($55), sporting a clean beefy headiness that ranges from subtle to strong. Too bad Costata bastes the strip with rosemary and then anoints it with a 'rosemary mop,' a double dropkick of herbs that can overwhelm the meat with the flavor of pine." Sutton also notes: "A five-course meal for two can run as much as an evening at Le Bernardin." The critic gives the restaurant two stars, overall. [Bloomberg]
Daniel S. Meyer gives three stars out of five to Betony in Midtown: "Betony's best dishes strike a rare balance between sophisticated and soulful. Seared foie gras is plugged with a rosy round of smoked ham hock and draped with crisp, vinegar-twanged kale, swapping some of its upmarket cachet for the down-home comforts of pork and greens. Ham broth swirls around the liver, taming its heart-stopping richness with salt and smoke." [TONY]
[Enduro by Bess Adler]
Michael Kaminer gives two stars out of five to Enduro in Midtown: "Starters fumble high-quality ingredients with sloppy presentations. Ho-hum pickled vegetables ($5), leaning sweet and lacking bite, leave no impression. Gazpacho ($10) evokes childhood memories of Campbell's Cream of Tomato. Shrimp cocktail ($17) blows an opportunity, with five fat claws deposited carelessly around the rim of what looks like an Ikea salad bowl. They're delicious, but depressing." [NYDN]
[Khe-Yo by Daniel Krieger]
Adam Platt gives two stars to Charlie Bird and one star to Khe-Yo. On the latter: "Inevitably, many of these creations feel more like hybrid mash-ups than the real thing. Laotian food is known for its heat and its touches of French Colonial delicacy, but the mellifluously named gaeng phet moo tasted oddly denatured, and the spice accompanying my serving of prawns (where you would procure prawns in tiny, landlocked Laos, I have no idea) appeared to have been poured from a can." [GS/NYM]
[Alameda by Krieger]
Alan Richman visits three hip new Greenpoint restaurants: Alameda, Luksus, and Glasserie. On Alameda: "It feels small town, although the specials I tried were confident and sophisticated. That trout was a boneless slice with skin on, very fresh, atop creamed corn, the plate accented with a grilled baby leek....Tomato tartine was even better, maybe the prettiest food in Greenpoint..." [GQ]
[Uncle Boons by Krieger]
THE ELSEWHERE: Shauna Lyon of Tables for Two is charmed by Uncle Boons in Soho, Gael Greene has an exciting meal at Oda House in the East Village, and Ligaya Mishan writes about some of her favorite tacos around the city.
[db Bistro Modern by Krieger]
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats editor Max Falkowitz likes many of the dishes he samples at Mezze Place in Astoria, the Immaculate Infatuation boys give a 6.9 rating to Cafe Colette in Williamsburg, the Pink Pig finds good food and quirky service at Traif, Joe DiStefano checks out 1962 Tofu in Flushing, Eat Big Apple digs the ramen at Rai Rai Ken, NYC Foodie loves his feast at Betony, and NY Journal has a great meal at the new and improved db Bistro Moderne.
[Top Photo: Costata by Krieger]
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]