For this week's review, Times critic Pete Wells files on Manzanilla, the Gramercy newcomer that's a partnership between Spanish chef Dani García and restaurateur Yann de Rochefort. Calling García "a member in good standing of the modernist sorcerers' club," Wells offers six "strong arguments" for eating at Manzanilla, including the tomato tartare ("this is a reason to close your eyes and remember how delicious [tomatoes] can be"), the top loin of Ibérico pork, and the two main courses made with bomba rice. But:
On top of other dishes: spheres. Here a sphere, there a sphere, everywhere a sphere. Spherification, a process developed at El Bulli, captures a liquid inside a thin membrane that bursts open on the tongue. Mr. García spherifies so many things that his restaurant is in danger of becoming a theme park of modern Spanish gastronomy. Spheres of olive juice brought a superfluous brininess to the charcuterie, which was salty enough on its own. Little spheres of mignonette sat on two of the oysters, and big spheres of citrus dressing swamped raw slices of sea bass.Wells is incredibly impressed by the desserts on offer at Manzanilla, but writes that much of the menu falls short of what García's Spanish restaurants, especially the two-Michelin-starred Calima, prove he's capable of. He gives the restaurant one star.
· An Import With a Foot in Spain [NYT]
· All Coverage of Manzanilla [~ENY~]