Pete Wells loves the spirit of the service at Charlie Bird, and he digs the wine program too, but some of the dishes on Ryan Hardy's menu fail to impress him. Here's Wells on the hits and the misses:
There is a heroic veal chop at Charlie Bird, pounded and floured and browned at scorching heat, but not scorched, served with tender porcini slices and wedges of lemon. There are chopped razor clams that ride in the long canoes of their shells alongside a fiery mash of pickled peppers. A special of bay scallops with chopped pistachios was given little capes of lardo, which may not have been the most flattering look but made the scallops seductively good to eat.Wells also notes that one night, "the cooks seemed to be applying salt with a snow blower." Overall, he gives the restaurant one star, with special praise for the wine list and service from Robert Bohr and Grant Reynolds.
Jarringly, ingratiating dishes like these were mixed in with careless ones. Some main courses weren't hot enough, including, on one night, that star chicken. A few of the handmade pastas were standouts; others were washouts.
· A Relaxed Air, but Attention Must Be Paid [NYT]
· All Coverage of Charlie Bird [~ENY~]
[Photo: Bess Adler]