Yesterday Ryan Sutton took a break from reviews to give a thorough guide to summer dining on Long Beach. Here's a roundup of the week's big reviews from other critics:
Pete Wells files a twofer on A Voce Madison and BLT Fish, two restaurants that got three stars from Frank Bruni when they first opened. On the entrees at A Voce: "In the main courses, [Ben] Lee shows more nuance with seafood than with meat. A hulking braised lamb shank in midwinter was more blunt than focused, while a lukewarm pork chop that was probably never going to get off the ground didn't get much aerodynamic lift from the mushy, oily mass of pine nuts and raisins on top. He brought more finesse to wild striped bass with fennel braised in orange juice, and to satiny olive-oil poached cod with sweet littlenecks." Two stars. [NYT]
Voice critic Zachary Feldman likes the scene, but finds the food at new Harlem restaurant Cheri decidedly dated: "Much of the food can't live up to the setting. While the dinner party vibe is infectious, execution is lacking overall. One night, our meal began with an appetizer of baby shrimp fanned out across a ring-molded mound of guacamole that was devoid of any acidic counterpoint. The next visit, a mixture of goat cheese and ratatouille was lively, but the baked zucchini halves it was stuffed in needed salt. In fact, salt shakers adorn each table, and too often it would seem they're intended to be used." [VV]
Adam Platt is appalled by the food at the new Tavern on the Green: "Some of the larger-format entrées tended to work a little better, but rarely well enough to justify the ridiculous top-drawer prices. 'This isn't blowing me away,' muttered the guest to my left as we regarded a limp portion of yellowfin tuna, which cost $38 and was served with a meager scattering of cremini mushrooms, a few tired arugula leaves, and a curl or two of bacon. I heard similar comments about the faintly rubbery quail entrée (with "wood-roasted" grapes and a mound of stiff South Carolina grits), and the Lobel's strip steak, which costs a cool $56 and is plated with a chalky serving of dry-tasting patatas bravas instead of good old French fries." Zero stars. [NYM]
[Tavern on the Green by Krieger]
After a good meal early on, Steve Cuozzo is also disappointed Tavern on the Green's downward spiral: "I enjoyed saffron-scented, spring wild mushroom soup, Maine Bouchot mussels in tingling red chili broth and Faroe Island salmon with cumin carrot puree and horseradish creme fraiche...But the kitchen serving hundreds at a time veers off track. Meat was overcooked: dry beef brisket and rubbery, plancha-cooked pork chop faded after the first few nibbles. "Caramelized" anchovies lay on the tongue like cardboard. Most every plate came with one element too cold for the others." One and a half stars. [NYP]
Michael Kaminer of the Daily News reviews the work of Le Cirque's new chef, Raphael Francois. He is impressed by the new menu, but finds the atmosphere as stuffy as ever: "In the dining room, glum servers act out weary pantomimes of formality. You almost feel like patting them on the shoulder and reassuring them things will get better. But when plates come, Francois commands attention back to the table. His silky foie gras ($38) is as creamy as liver ice cream. Ruby-colored tartare and caviar ($47) carries crystal-clear earth and sea notes that almost justify its price tag...With an artist's eye, Francois pairs pristine lobster segments with vibrantly colorful blackberry, tiny turnips, and radish ($37). His buttery, snow-white turbot ($47) contrasts beautifully with sweet-tart rhubarb in a heady bourbon vanilla sauce that ties it all together." [NYDN]
[Cherche Midi by Nick Solares]
THE ELSEWHERE: Amelia Lester of Tables for Two loves the wood-fired menu at The Runner. Ligaya Mishan checks out the pizza at Houdini in Ridgewood. Gael Greene enjoys a friends and family meal at Cherche Midi.
[Cafe El Presidente by Krieger]
THE BLOGS: Chris Stang of The Infatuation revisits the East Villlage Motorino, NY Journal finds the food at Chicane mediocre, NYC Foodie samples the tacos at Cafe El Presidente, Chopsticks and Marrow contributor Noah Arenstein loves Russ & Daughters Cafe, and the Pink Pig is impressed with Batard.