Pete Wells files a twofer on Toshio Tomita's Cagen and Michael White's Ristorante Morini. On the former: "You can pick a path across the à la carte menu or just free-fall with a seven-course, $120 omakase meal. It's a question of budget and time, but the big splurge shows off all the things Cagen does very well: sashimi with that nervy chimichurri, sushi wrapped in grilled seaweed that crackles like autumn leaves, and zaru soba, served as three small ponytail bunches of cool soba noodles." Wells gives both restaurants two stars. [NYT]
Michael Kaminer gives three stars out of five to Einat Admony's Bar Bolonat: "Butter-tender and pomegranate-licked, Admony's much-hyped poussin ($31) should exemplify Bar Bolonat's warm, witty way with tradition. But it doesn't quite scale the heights. The baby bird yields less meat than fat and bone. Crisped rice underneath makes an addictive contrast. We kept wishing that flavors would sing louder, and that Admony would cut loose in the same way she's riffed at Balaboosta." [NYDN]
[Sweetgreen by Krieger]
Alan Richman gives one star to Midtown salad restaurant Sweetgreen: "The most satisfying of the Signature Salads, perhaps because it's legitimate comfort food, is the Earth Bowl, which contains warm grains (quinoa and faro), roasted chicken, arugula, cheddar cheese, grape tomatoes, spicy broccoli and, unfortunately, corn. It came in a bowl that looked exactly like paper to me but was assembled from compostable sugarcane pulp. Still, it made for more pleasant eating than the plastic container that wasn't plastic." [GQ]
Zachary Feldman encounters some hits and misses on Adam Starowicz's menu at North River: "Wading through a selection of 15 small plates ($7–$17) yields an initial clunker of watery glazed turnips offset by fermented black beans, but then a stroke of good fortune: Roast crawfish sit in briny crustacean butter laced with ramps, the dairy-mellowed alliums muted and musky. Grilled eggplants over white bean purée benefit from the addition of puffed rice and pickled chilies, but they fade away once a jumble of crunchy pig ear ribbons hit the table." [VV]
[Gato by Krieger]
Adam Platt gives two stars to Bobby Flay's new Noho restaurant, Gato: "The pork chop my friend and I enjoyed one evening was nicely charred, and instead of the usual tired chicken entrée, Flay and his cooks frizzle a duo of chicken breast and thigh to a salty crisp, plate them with crunchy potatoes and a seasonally correct tangle of dandelion greens, and drizzle everything with tarragon-laced salsa verde." [NYM]
Steve Cuozzo is also a fan of Flay's newest restaurant: "'Bar' selections (three for $17) channel the playful spirit of the best northern-Spanish tapas. Smoked paprika gently complexions a plancha-cooked chorizo crépinette, a kind of ground pork mini-burger; apricot mostarda garnish lightens the load. I never thought of octopus as a vehicle for tangerine sauce. Yet the sauce deftly parries the supple tentacle's mineral quality and offsets the heft of lardons." The Post critic gives Gato three stars. [NYP]
[Rosette by Bess Adler]
THE ELSEWHERE: Gael Greene lists her favorite chicken dishes, Tables for Two's Shauna Lyon thinks that Bobby Flay is "cooking some amazing food" at Gato in Noho, and Ligaya Mishan likes many of the dishes on Nick Curtin's eclectic menu at Rosette on the Lower East Side.
[Bar Bolonat by Krieger]
THE BLOGS Chris Stang gives an 8.2 rating to Dimes on the Lower East Side, Serious Eats blogger Craig Cavallo samples the Italian-Japanese fare at Dieci in the East Village, The Pink Pig wishes the portions were bigger at Wallflower in the West Village, The Food Doc has a stellar meal at Momofuku Ko, NYC Foodie digs Jonathan Wu's unusual riffs on Chinese dishes at Fung Tu, Joe DiStefano loves the breakfast sandwich at Empire Biscuit, and NY Journal gives one star to Einat Admony's Bar Bolonat in the West Village.