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Pete Wells Awards Two Stars to Kajitsu in Murray Hill

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Photo: Kajitsu

This week, Pete Wells files on vegetarian Japanese restaurant Kajitsu, which recently moved from the East Village to Murray Hill. He likes the airy new dining room and the fine service ware, but he's most impressed by chef Ryota Ueshima's mastery of seasonal vegetables:

Last month, he lay pointy lily blades across a bowl that held a kind of vegan Jell-O salad, a clear gelatin dome studded with slices of raw baby okra, cooked bell peppers and mountain yam. To garnish that pea soup, the first dish on his April menu, he had made tiny replicas of pink-streaked cherry blossoms out of thin sheets of wheat gluten and rice flour, then decorated the bowl with a cherry branch whose flowers were so exquisitely small and delicate that they made other cherry blossoms look like the centerpiece at the wedding of a mobster's daughter.
The critic gives a special shout-out to the fermented tofu and the matcha. Some of the dishes miss the mark, but overall, he thinks Kajitsu is worthy of two stars. [NYT]

Steve Cuozzo gives three stars to Andrew Carmellini's latest, Lafayette: "A gigantic soft-shell crab, as sweet as the batter was crackling, drew uninhibited moans of bliss. Steamed red snapper appeared to float atop basil sauce that gently complexioned the supple fish. Wood-grilled local trout, originally served with lentils and beans, now comes with haricot veloute, yellow wax beans, sunflower sprouts and creamy sauce Veronique; it's splendid either way, the skin near-black, the flesh pristine." [NYP]

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[Lafayette by Krieger]

Ryan Sutton is also a fan of Andrew Carmellini and Damon Wise's version of French fare at Lafayette. On the chicken for two: "The golden birds turning on the rotisserie confer a heady, homey perfume to the surroundings. The low heat gives the meat a soft texture; feel free to shred the flesh with your fingers. The skin isn't crisp as in roast chicken, but delicate and satisfyingly unctuous. Gorgeous. This all costs $38. Or $72 at Balthazar if you're so inclined." Sutton gives the restaurant two and a half stars. [Bloomberg]

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[ABC Cocina by Krieger]

Adam Platt likes the tacos and many of the shareable small plates at Jean-Georges and Dan Kluger's newest, ABC Cocina. His conclusion: "This new Jean-Georges-Kluger ABC outlet is not quite as tight and focused as their original collaboration, but when you factor in the range of the food and the myriad boozing opportunities, you could argue that it's a good deal more fun." Two stars. [GS/NYM]

Stan Sagner is disappointed by Greenwich Project on West Eighth Street: "Fish Chips ($11) start clever ? in concept. 'Fish,' a mound of lush cod brandade, arrives sprouting golden 'chips' of fried skate fin. Stop there and you have a comfort food classic served with a wink. The dish, though, falls helpless under an ill-conceived shower of pineapple relish so cloying and texture-free it tastes fresh from the can. Likewise, an already indulgent crisp soft shell crab ($21) drizzled in nutty brown butter arrives anchored in cement boots of smashed potatoes. It's culinary overkill, Mafia-style." Sagner gives the restaurant two stars out of a possible five. [NYDN]

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[Casa Enrique by Krieger]

THE ELSEWHERE: Ms. Gael heads out to Bushwick for a great (but not transcendant) meal at Blanca, Amelia Lester of Tables for Two is thoroughly charmed by Lafayette, Ligaya Mishan loves chef Cosme Aguilar's vibrant Mexican food at Casa Enrique, Restaurant Girl thinks that ABC Cocina lives up to the hype, and James Foley visits Sakagura in Midtown for the Village Voice.

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[Daniel Krieger]

THE BLOGS: Serious Eats editor Max Falkowitz strongly recommends paying a visit to Alder in the East Village, the Immaculate Infatuation duo give a 7.5 rating to Spicy Village on the Lower East Side, the Food Doc is very impressed by the food and the drinks at Michael White's Costata, the Pink Pig samples the goods at Potlikker and two other Brooklyn restaurants, Eat Big Apple has a terrific meal at old-school French restaurant Le Perigord, Joe DiStefano digs the arepa de queso from the Arepa Lady, NYC Foodie tries the cocktails and many of the items on the bar menu at The Lounge at Atera, and NY Journal thinks that Andanada 14 serves high-quality Spanish food.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]

Blanca

261 Moore Street, Brooklyn, NY 11206 Visit Website

Casa Enrique

5-48 49th Avenue, Queens, NY 11101 (347) 448-6040 Visit Website

ABC Cocina

38 E 19th St., New York, NY 10003 212 677 2233

Lafayette

380 Lafayette Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 533-3000 Visit Website

Alder

157 Second Avenue, New York, Ny 10003 212 539 1900

atera

77 Worth Street, Manhattan, NY 10013 (212) 226-1444 Visit Website

Kajitsu

125 E 39th St., New York, NY

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