Yesterday, Ryan Sutton awarded one star to Bobby Flay's Gato, and Restaurant Editor Bill Addison filed his impressions of a recent meal at La Grenouille. Here's a roundup of the rest of the week's big reviews:
Pete Wells is pleasantly surprised by the food and the overall experience at the recently reopened River Cafe: "Maybe a chocolate bridge is a little hokey, but so is dropping to one knee in front of the Manhattan skyline. In both cases what counts is not the originality of the gesture but its sincerity. In its desire to sweep us into its secluded, flower-strewn island, the River Café is sincere in a way that restaurants hardly ever are these days. At the end of a night there, I always regret that it's time to come back to the mainland." Two stars. [NYT]
Voice critic Zachary Feldman is a fan of Bobby Flay's Gato: "The kitchen pulls flavors from the Mediterranean and the Middle East, coaxing nuance out of supple roasted octopus via tangerine sauce rounded out by oregano and crisp bacon. Soft-shell crab crostini entertains a lingering spice thanks to harissa along with the oniony depth of charred ramps. A take on frisée aux lardons with apricot vinaigrette, white chicory, and crisp chorizo is met with battling forks eager to cleave the salad's poached egg." [VV]
Steve Cuozzo digs the Mediterranean fare at Bustan on the Upper West Side: "Ultra-supple beef cheeks are braised with root vegetables and wine, and topped with angel hair pasta and crackling Parmesan cheese. Lamb terra cotta is a Middle Eastern pot pie. The waiter rolled the crust back like a rug, revealing a steaming stew anchored by three fervently spiced lamb kebabs." Two and a half stars. [NYP]
Joshua David Stein also enjoys chef Efi Nahon's cooking at Bustan: "Fire is a nifty trick. Mr. Nahon is especially deft at using the high heat of the taboon for a few seconds to imbue fish with a smoky richness. One night a split-open branzino arrived so fresh it seemed surprised to be there. Open like a billfold and drizzled with red wine vinaigrette, citrus and persillade, the skin was crisp as Quentin and its flesh tender as the night. After two decades, Nahon has discovered the secret: Midway through the cooking, he takes the fish out to rest before slotting it in again." Five stars. [The Observer]
[Bar Bolonat by Krieger]
Alan Richman awards two stars to Einat Admony's Bar Bolonat: "I love that Bar Bolonat takes you to Israel, and also to unknown lands, where ramps and asparagus, pasta and ricotta yogurt, and even beef and tahini co-exist, mostly in harmony but sometimes not. Admony is fortunate, because she opened Bar Bolonat at a time when Middle Eastern food has never been more desirable around here, but she's also confident and deft. She is one of the few chefs in this city cooking Middle Eastern food not because it's trendy to do so, but because she knows how." [GQ]
[Heartwood by Krieger]
Stan Sagner gives three stars out of five to Heartwood in the old Donatella space: "The headliner is pizza, but the menu features a supporting cast of mostly hearty mains. A standout, Stout Braised Short Rib ($26), conjures the spoon tenderness and dark, earthy complexity your grandmother was going for. A touch of salt was all it needed. The team clearly has a soft spot (but sharp nose) for New York wines; the menu includes a diverse and reasonably priced array from around the Empire State. There's also an excellent draft beer selection." [NYDN]
[Navy by Krieger]
THE ELSEWHERE: Tables for Two critic Shauna Lyon likes many of the dishes at Navy in Soho, Ligaya Mishan samples the chicken over rice at Eim Khao Mun Kai and Khao Man Gai NY, and Restaurant Girl lists some of her favorite spring desserts.
[Racines by Krieger]
THE BLOGS: Serious Eats editor J. Kenji López-Alt rounds up some of his favorite New York dishes, The Pink Pig loves the wine and the food at Racines, Joe DiStefano recommends ordering the miang kana at Ploy Thai, Immaculate Infatuation's Andrew Steinthal gives a 7.7 rating to Bikinis in the East Village, Goodies First checks out Onomea and Donostia, NYC Foodie is instantly on board with Ivan Ramen, and NY Journal gives two and a half stars to Beautique.
[Top photo: Gato by Krieger]
· All Coverage of Reviews [~ENY~]