Pete Wells paid several visits to The Pines in Gowanus over the last few months, and some of his meals were dreadful. But things improved over time, and Wells now likes a lot of the food that's coming out of chef Angelo Romano's kitchen:
In the spring, Mr. Romano made the smart decision to treat ramp greens like spinach, sautéing them to softness and surrounding them with a concentrated tart-sweet late-harvest vinegar. A fried duck egg and Marcona almonds balanced their garlicky bitterness.The restaurant has worked out its service issues, and it finally accepts credit cards. Because of these improvements, Wells gives the restaurant one star. [NYT]
This summer, he dressed tender young purslane with a vibrant emulsion of mint and garlic. A savory foam of warmed egg yolks had been shot between the purslane branches, a lovely way of adding creaminess to the crisp greens.
Steve Cuozzo files a rave review of Betony in Midtown. He loves the sophisticated service, and the nuanced modern American cuisine: "Betony's 'money' dish is beef short ribs, thyme- and garlic-seasoned and shaped into succulent cubes. They emerge from a sous vide bath in their own fat, possessing the flavor depth of cote de boeuf. They come with yakitori-grilled romaine leaves brushed with beef fat hefty enough to stand on their own, and a veal sweetbread that would be superfluous if not so good." Cuozzo gives the restaurant three stars out of four. [NYP]
Although he has some issues with the service, Alan Richman is very impressed by Estela, the new Houston Street restaurant from Thomas Carter and Ignacio Mattos. Richman writes: "If there is anything wrong with Estela, it's that it allows too many people to come to dinner, but Mattos's cooking is so exuberant, original, unconventional, and compelling, I don't know how you can keep them away. I don't even know what to call his food. Maybe contemporary, but that's so yesterday. I don't think it's Uruguayan. I've been there, and I never ate anything as extraordinary as this." [GQ]
Daniel S. Meyer gives two stars out of five to Sushi Ko, chef John Daley's 10-seat sushi parlor on the Lower East Side: "For all of Daley's virtuosity and dedication (RICE and FISH on his knuckles spell out the obsession in ink), the long waits between courses aren't always rewarded on the plate. A subtle dish of kampachi—tartare and sashimi—is overmatched by bitter (and watery) cucumber gelée, while the enoki, stewed gourd and jackfish studding an undersalted chawanmushi are all too yielding to highlight the supple, quivering custard." [TONY]
Gael Greene is not in love with the dining room at Quality Italian, but she finds a lot to like on the menu: "My bone-in sirloin ($45) emerges truly rare, shockingly tender and delicious. Two of us are sharing it, but given half a dozen sides and my weakness for the irresistible maccheroni – a third of the steak is left. Even the sunchokes — roasted, flattened and tossed with cheese and olive oil aioli — demand attention." [Insatiable]
Michael Kaminer gives two stars out of five to Three Letters, the new Clinton Hill restaurant from Pip Freeman: "Insipid pan-roasted tilefish ($19) tastes mostly of butter. Bland 'crab rice croquette' and flavor-free fennel cream do little to enhance. Bitter sautéed greens dominate jerky-like seitan 'aux trois soeurs' ($16) whose 'popcorn veloute' means a wan, runny emulsion. Only pork-rib confit ($27), perked up with chunks of peach and plum, delivers the kinds of fireworks Freeman seeks." [NYDN]
THE ELSEWHERE: Shauna Lyon of Tables for Two finds some hits and misses at The Elm in Williamsburg, Jeff Gordinier recommends both Los Tacos No. 1 and Tres Carnes, and J. Kenji López-Alt pays a visit to Peix Bar De Mariscos on Elizabeth Street.
[Lafayette by Krieger]
THE BLOGS: Andrew Steinthal of Immaculate Infatuation gives a 5.5 rating to Bar Corvo in Crown Heights, Restaurant Girl blogger Sarah Zorn rounds up the best new restaurants of the summer, NYC Foodie has a great first visit to Piora in the West Village, the Pink Pig enjoys his meal at Lafayette, Amuse*Bouche's Bradley Hawks checks out some of the new dishes at Pounds & Ounces, Chekmark Eats recommends Kotobuki in the Esat Village, Joe DiStefano visits Himalaya Kitchen, the Food Doc is impressed by the food and cocktails at Betony, and NY Journal has a good time at Umami Burger.
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]