Pete Wells finds inconsistency at Barchetta. But on its best nights, "Main courses like wonderfully rich grilled kingfish steak, a roasted whole black sea bass and a bread-crumb-crusted hunk of pumpkin swordfish were pulled from the heat precisely at the moment their thickest sections had firmed, before they had a chance to seize up into a tough fist that would chase away their sweet oceanic juices." One star. [NYT]
Zachary Feldman reviews the hottest new French restaurant on the Bowery, Cherche Midi: "A mess of bouchot mussels in a timid basil broth feels unfinished with its topping of broccolini and confit lemon, but a wing of bone-in skate meuniére is as meltingly soft as the fennel and onion soubise it sits above. The roast chicken, that universal benchmark of good cooking, is here rendered earthy and deep with leeks and morels." [VV]
Michael Kaminer finds a few hits, but many misfires at Élan: "A summer salad ($14) epitomizes Waltuck's gospel of simplicity. But the slightly soggy chopped-up vegetables encircling an elegant yogurt-feta custard are merely an echo of Waltuck's prior thoughtfulness and daring. Other dishes yoke disparate elements that would work better divorced. On paper, sea urchin guacamole ($16) probably sounded orgasmic. On the plate, it's flaccid avocado fish paste, with powerful oceanic notes overpowering mellow fruit." Three stars ("just two stars for the balky food...another star for chutzpah."). [NYDN]
[The Musket Room by Krieger]
THE ELSEWHERE: Amelia Lester checks out two restaurants serving Australian fare: The Musket Room and Flinders Lane. Ligaya Mishan is taken with the Senegalese food at Cafe Rue Dix. Gael Greene is slowly won over by new Argentinian restaurant Balvanera.
[Root & Bone by Krieger]
THE BLOGS: On the Infatuation, Andrew Steinthal is not impressed by Empire Biscuit, while Chris Stang has a solid meal at Yefsi. The Pink Pig enjoys the small plates at Contrada, Chekmark Eats is a fan of Root & Bone, The Food Doc loves the meat dishes at Claudette, New York Journal likes the wine list better than the food at La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, NYC Foodie loves Tuome, and Chopstick + Marrow tries the halo halo at Manny's.
[Top photo: Barchetta by Krieger]