Pete Wells files a double review today of two seasoned Danny Meyer establishments: Blue Smoke and North End Grill. Both have gotten new chefs in recent months – Eric Korsh joined North End Grill in April, Jean-Paul Bourgeois signed on to Blue Smoke a little later that same year. So how are they holding up? Wells finds both chefs doing some great things. At North End Grill, Korsh "hits more high notes, and hits them more often," than his predecessor, Floyd Cardoz. And at Blue Smoke, the barbecue is not the thing to get:
Mr. Bourgeois is a native of Thibodaux, La., and some of his best dishes have been yanked, still wriggling, right out of the bayou. You know he means to do things the right way when you see the soft French bread that comes with oysters roasted in smoked garlic butter under crackling bread crumbs. His seafood boil is outstanding, every ingredient cooked the way it should be: the little potatoes, the crisp baby carrots, the fat, wonderful gulf shrimp and a head of boiled garlic that is delicious spread on Saltines.
Ultimately, Blue Smoke (which has some service issues and some so-so smoked meat) gets one star and North End Grill keeps the two stars Wells awarded it under Cardoz back in 2012. Meanwhile, there's another review looming on the horizon for Mr. Meyer: As Wells notes, The Modern also got a new chef recently. But that, he says pointedly, is "a complicated case of two restaurants, each holding three stars from The New York Times, and is best saved for another time."