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Reviews for Blenheim, Claudette, El Vez, and More

Yesterday Ryan Sutton gave two stars to Drew Nieporent's newest, Batard. Pete Wells was off in Vegas, but here are the rest of the week's big reviews:

Zachary Feldman heads to Stephen Starr's Battery Park City Mexican spot, El Vez: "Huitlacoche stuffed inside crescent-shaped quesadillas has a pleasant, muddy funk, but the corn-fungus snack lacks punch. The same is true of the eight taco varieties, which include a few atypical choices — pork belly with pickled watermelon, for instance, and lamb 'Arabes.'" [VV]

Stan Sagner is impressed with Blenheim, newly under the helm of chef Ryan Tate: "Judging by what the kitchen sends out, quality is clearly the priority. Take the foie gras torchon ($19). Typically, goose liver as rich as this dominates any plate, but Tate perfectly cuts the luxurious fattiness with tiny dehydrated cherry tomatoes and a minty tomato-water bath. Another terrific appetizer, "Egg" ($17), winks at the infamous "Which came first" riddle by crowning a shimmering poached egg with a tiny, crunchy tempura cockscomb that pairs beautifully with the unctuous liquid yolk." Four stars. [NYDN]

Besides a couple misses, Steve Cuozzo is mostly charmed by West Village hot spot Claudette: "I wished bouillabaisse 'en croute' were less creamy beneath a puff pastry lid that pops off like a hat, but shellfish and octopus delivered the goods. Tagine chicken boasted more moist, dark meat than is standard inside a clay pot, amidst a fervent stew of couscous, zucchini, eggplant, dates and oranges. Pasta disappointed, like chitarra with sardines and broccoli lost in a monochromatic, buttery blur." Two stars. [NYP]

[Cafe El Presidente by Krieger]

Joshua David Stein samples the tacos at Flatiron's sprawling, all-day Cafe El Presidente: "with the El Pastor Madison D.F. ($12.95) the grilled pineapples are perfect, the tortillas smeared with the orange fat of the pork, and the meat (cut from a rotating spit) succulent. But garnished with a tablespoon of avocado crema, that cutting note—of either acidity or spice—was missing. Lack of countermanding acid also ankled the otherwise serviceable guacamole ($11.49), which normally relies heavily on a backbone of citrus to structure its lazy-ass tendencies...The carne asada, served Monterrey-style, was like late Billy Crystal: safe, bland." Three stars. [NYO]

[Bodega Negra by Krieger]

THE ELSEWHERE: Jeff Gordinier has mixed feelings about the Bronx Beer Hall. Gael Greene ventures downtown to Bodega Negra, and is pleasantly surprised.

[elan by Krieger]

THE BLOGS: Andrew Steinthal likes weekday meals at Cafe Habana and Chris Stang gives a 7.9 to the Calliope revamp, Contrada, Chopsticks + Marrow is wowed by the lamb at Betony, NYC Foodie files on an early meal at elan, The Food Doc details The Publican's late-night pop-up at Ssam Bar, Chekmark Eats has an excellent meal at Gramercy Tavern,

Cafe el Presidente

30 W 24th Street, New York, NY 10010 646-429-8284


43 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10003 646-682-7105 Visit Website

Gramercy Tavern

42 East 20th Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 477-0777 Visit Website

El Vez

259 Vesey Street, New York, NY 10282

Bodega Negra

355 West 15th St., New York, NY 10011


24 5th Ave, New York, NY 10011 212-868-2424 Visit Website


283 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014 (212) 243-7073


41 West 57th Street, New York, NY 10019 212-465-2400