Instead of reviewing a New York restaurant this week, Pete Wells files on Hog & Hominy, in Memphis. Wells likes the playful mix of Italian and Southern fare at Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer's second restaurant. On the fried sweetbreads: "They were bathed in a crunchy rust-colored hot sauce made from deeply roasted peanuts puréed with balsamic and honey vinegars, lime juice, roasted garlic and a pile of chile peppers. Like Nashville's hot chicken, these sweetbreads were more fiery with every bite. Seeking relief, I turned to the white aioli splashed on the plate. It didn't cool things down at all. There was jalapeño in that aioli. It was a lowdown, sneaky move, and I admired Mr. Hudman and Mr. Ticer immensely for it." [NYT]
Steve Cuozzo is a fan of Michael White's new Soho steakhouse, Costata: "Huge steaks for two are the menu's heart, and magnificent. Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef is dry-aged at least 40 days, possessed of buttery flavor depth, yet without an excess of butter or the moldy quality that may come of so long a hang on the hook. Herb basting complexioned the mighty, 40-ounce 'Fiorentina' porterhouse and well-marbled, 44-ounce 'tomahawk' rib-eye. These are among Manhattan's grandest new steaks, in Arlington Club's league." Cuozzo give the restaurant two and a half stars. [NYP]
Stan Sagner gives three stars (out of five) to Biang! in Flushing. On the skewers: "Delicious coins of pork intestine, ($3.75) like meaty subway tokens, sparkle with their dusting of cumin and red chili. Chicken gizzards ($3.75) taste as if a whole bird had been distilled into each tiny nugget. Squid ($4.5) slathered in 'Spicy & Tingly' garlicky bean paste is grilled to that precise, magical moment when the flesh reaches its tenderest state. One second more and you are chewing on tire — which is an apt description for the boiled Tofu 'Skin' Skewer ($3), the only clunker in the bunch." [NYDN]
[The Butterfly by Krieger]
Ms. Gael Greene likes the cocktails and many of the dishes she tries at Michael White and Eben Freeman's The Butterfly. The verdict: "I still don't understand what the The Butterfly is all about, beyond an insatiable lust for zip code coverage. If you said it was a front for illegal numbers action or a cover for marijuana plants in the cellar, I'd get it. But an ode to a moment in history when Chef Bianco was peeling potatoes at a nightclub called The Butterfly? I suppose the sentiment is sweet. Still, think about the lifespan of a butterfly. Wouldn't you be a little spooked?" [Insatiable]
[Uncle Boons by Krieger]
Daniel S. Meyer finds some hits and misses at Uncle Boons. On the dishes that don't quite click: "Fried sweetbreads with halfhearted creaminess and crunch distract from a tamarind-sour crispy noodle salad (mee krob) that's more than good enough on its own. Potatoes in the massaman neuh—a beef curry from the country's Muslim-influenced south—are not the usual tender, yielding cubes, but long, noodlelike strands, slightly too raw and unwieldy to ease into the rest of the dish. Slow-cooked and grilled pork spareribs err on the sweet side, the fried shrimp-paste rice underneath a bit muddied by soy." The critic gives the restaurant two stars out of a possible five. [TONY]
[Esetla by Daniel Krieger]
Joshua David Stein is impressed by the small plates at Ignacio Mattos and Thomas Carter's Estela: "Mattos works best with light flavors—he may be the James Turrell of food, and this might account for the preponderance of small seafood plates. There are many ways to serve scallops, which, like the Eucharist, are mostly made meaningful by what one brings to them. Citrus, in general, is a safe bet. Between his scallops, sliced thinnish and lychee-like, Mr. Mattos intersperses slices of grapefruit, which is nice, but he also adds a few sprigs of bronze fennel, which is better, and dusts it all with Calabrese chili flakes, which is inspired." The critic wishes there were a few more entrees, though, and a serious dessert program. [The Observer]
[The Cleveland by Daniel Krieger]
THE ELSEWHERE: Ariel Levy loves the vegetable-heavy fare at The Cleveland in Soho, Ligaya Mishan finds some wining dishes as well as some flops at Cherry in the Meatpacking District, and James A. Foley digs the Uyghur food at Cafe Kashkar in Brighton Beach.
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats editor J. Kenji Lopez-Alt enjoys the straightforward Italian fare at Celeste on the UWS, the Immaculate Infatuation boys give a 7.6 rating to the Midtown location of Xi'an Famous Foods, Goodies First likes the tasting menu at Luksus in Greenpoint, the Pink Pig files a report from a recent Di Bruno Bros. cheese tasting at the Little Owl's event space, NYC Foodie is shocked by how bad the food is at Morimoto, The Food Doc digs the nostalgic food and atmosphere at The Butterfly, Brownie checks out Hamilton's for brunch, and NY Journal thinks that Costata is a winner.