Pete Wells thinks that Chez Sardine serves a fusion of two strands of cooking: "Asian stoner food" and "fat on fat cuisine." Sometimes this marriage works, and sometimes it doesn't:
Breakfast pancakes with raw fish, salmon roe and lime yogurt are as fun as they sound, both silly and luxurious. But a similar dish of raw seafood with fried rice balls can't repeat the trick. Unlike the pancakes, the rice has little flavor of its own, and it needs some to cope with an unruly mess of spicy mayonnaise, tobiko, seared scallops, raw mackerel and avocado paste.Wells praises the design of Gabe Stulman's restaurant, and he loves many of chef Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly's sushi dishes. Overall, the critic deems the restaurant worthy of one star. [NYT]
Hot and exceptionally creamy cod fritters would make an ideal bar snack, while the fried chicken nuggets — with strands of pickled cabbage and a garlic aioli that comes across as creamy Italian salad dressing — are like something you would wolf down when all the bars are closed.
Robert Sietsema files on Brooklyn Japanese newcomers Ganso and Suzume. On the latter: "Topped with tiny red roe, painted with spicy mayo, and wrapped in nori, the scallops ($5 per piece) are particularly irresistible; there are maki rolls, too, including a faddish spicy tuna with a nest of wiry fried potatoes on top. You could make a very nice sushi dinner here—if you can ignore everyone around you slurping noodles." Sietsema also writes that Ganso is "quite simply one of the best ramen parlors in town." [VV]
Ryan Sutton is not in love Gaonnuri: "Service has marginally improved since the awful early days, though the bar still won't transfer your tab to the table. And while staffers remember to bring soy sauce with your ordinary Korean pancake sampler ($12), they forget to bring dipping bowls. Not acceptable when you're paying more then $100 per person. Braised short ribs ($15) aren't mouthfillingly spoon-tender as they are elsewhere, but they're good enough. Bossam won't turn heads as it does at Ssam Bar, but the steamed pork and daikon radish ($14) satisfies." Sutton gives the restaurant one star. [Bloomberg]
Steve Cuozzo gives two and a half stars to Saul Bolton's Red Gravy: "Just when you've had it with tables too dark to see much, along come the meatballs and polenta: veal, pork and beef alloyed seamlessly to egg, fennel and tomato sauce in which they're roasted and braised. Supple and moist on the tongue, lent crackle by bread crumbs, they whip Manhattan's best in this golden age of meatballs. Exacting kitchen discipline makes old favorites seem rustic and rugged. They're lushly textured and complexioned with different herbs and accents than in more literal Italian preparations." Cuozzo also notes that the $45 "Sunday gravy" dish is a standout. [NYP]
Jay Cheshes awards four stars (out of five) to Fredrik Berselius's Aska in Williamsburg: "A gorgeous trompe l'oeil first course, in the last gray gasp of winter, featured a hay-roasted beet channeling a rare hunk of beef—in its dense texture and deep crimson hue—topped in sweet melted onions and a caramelized vegetable broth so concentrated, it could pass for veal jus. Berselius is an alchemist with the most modest ingredients. His succulent sticky roasted pig's trotter with tangy-sweet apple puree arrived buried under a mountain of translucent sunchoke slivers, adding a beautiful earthy note, like a poor man's white truffle." [TONY]
Adam Platt awards two stars to Le Philosophe: "The duck à l'orange is a single, perfectly crisped duck breast cut in half and plated with potatoes mousseline and a streak of beautifully balanced sauce that tastes just faintly of oranges. Only the exceedingly tender, foie gras-capped tournedos Rossini retain some of their famous heft." He also gives one star to Arlington Club. [GS/NYM]
Michael Kaminer gives three stars (out of five) to Murray's Cheese Bar: "Main entrées careen between hits and well-intentioned misses, too. Murray's Cheeseburger ($17) is a thing of beauty. Parked on a brioche bun from TomKat Bakery, it's a massive disc of grilled sirloin smothered in cheese you choose. We went with creamy blue and added bacon; the juicy, creamy result was both textbook-classic and nearly haute. Translucent house-made potato chips and vinegary Rick's Picks pickle spears make apt complements." [NYDN]
Gael Greene revisits JoJo after more than a decade and finds that the kitchen is still turning out great food: "Delicate ricotta ravioli in a complexly sweet and salty tomato sauce with shards of Parmesan seems familiar. Perhaps the frippery of scattered micro greens is new century. Still, certainly, in its simple perfection it could be something Jean-Georges did in the 80's." [Insatiable Critic]
THE ELSEWHERE: Tejal Rao loves the quirky Latin fare at Xixa in Williamsburg, Hannah Goldfield of Tables for Two likes the starters and sides more than the entrees at Arlington Club, Restaurant Girl loves everything but the lobster Thermidor at Le Philosophe, and Ligaya Mishan samples Sho Boo's unusual Japanese food at quirky East Village newcomer Bugs.
THE BLOGS: Carey Jones of Serious Eats thinks that Maysville is one of the city's best Southern restaurants, the Immaculate Infatuation boys give a 6.4 rating to Salvation Taco, Chekmark Eats digs the smoked meats at Mighty Quinn's, NYC Foodie pays an early visit to Montmartre, The Pink Pig samples several beers at Tørst in Greenpoint, Eat Big Apple has a pleasant meal at Tournesol in Long Island City, and NY Journal has a solid dinner at Le Philosophe.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]