At last, Pete Wells reviews Paul Liebrandt's Williamsburg foray, The Elm. Wells writes that this new endeavor in the basement of the King & Grove hotel "would be just like a hundred other restaurants if not for Mr. Liebrandt." The critic notes that there are a few weak items on the menu, and that some of the plates for two don't quite work the way that shareable dishes should. But still, there's a lot to like here:
I stopped noticing bacon in restaurant cooking a long time ago, but I was almost knocked on my back by the intensity of the spicy, smoky bacon XO sauce that lifts a beet salad to a higher plane of awesomeness. The gnudi splayed around a browned sea scallop were a little sticky, but I forgot that, once I tasted their wildly rich coconut-milk sauce, lush with Kaffir lime and galangal. And there is nothing safe or dull about the charred eggplant purée beside the lamb neck. Terrifyingly black and shiny, like nothing that humans are meant to eat, it has a deep and enduring flavor that goes on even longer than the taste of the gorgeously sticky lamb, and that is saying something.The New York Times critic gives Liebrandt's Brooklyn restaurant two stars.
· A Fearless Palate for the Drop-In Crowd [NYT]
· All Coverage of The Elm [~ENY~]
[The Elm by Krieger]