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Reviews for Wildair, Empellon Cocina, Kat & Theo, and More

Gael Greene is impressed by the lamb shank at Kat & Theo, and Zachary Feldman is floored by the tasting menu at Empellon Cocina.

[Wildair, which Pete Wells loves.]
[Wildair, which Pete Wells loves.]
Daniel Krieger

This week, Robert Sietsema gives four stars to Hyderbadi Biryani & Chat out in Flushing, and Ryan Sutton offers his official ranking of McDonald's breakfast dishes.  Here's a roundup of the rest of the week's reviews:

Pete Wells gives two stars to Wildair, the new wine bar from Contra's Jeremiah Stone and Fabian von Hauske: "Contra does laid-back refinement as well as any downtown restaurant, and the two chefs pack an impressive amount of nuance into its six- or seven-course set menus. Wildair is the one I want to go back to, though. I want to camp out at a high table, taste everything new on the menu to see whether it clicks and pillage the stash of natural wines like Genghis Khan."

It's not perfect, but Amelia Lester of Tables for Two has a good time at Brooklyn Bavarian Hall, the new beer garden attached to Grand Prospect Hall: "Those who order the pear-and-kale salad, curiously wet, will get what they deserve. The sausage plate is generously portioned, and therefore a triumph. It comes with steak fries the size of a giant’s fingers, and should be explored with a porous, noisy group over several hours on a Sunday afternoon, while sitting next to a stuffed horse, a garden gnome, and a lion carved out of imitation limestone."

[Empellon Cocina by Krieger]

Zachary Feldman is blown away by Alex Stupak's new tasting menu at Empellon Cocina: "The extended menus ($95 for 10 courses at 6 p.m., $165 for 22 courses at 8 p.m.) bring to the table some of the city's most ambitious Mexican cooking: a cerebral, joy-inducing, interactive procession of elaborately composed tastes. They appear minutes apart, like peyote-induced hallucinations, and rile the palate with stupefying combinations."

Gael Greene likes most of what she tries at Kat & Theo, the new Flatiron District restaurant from Paras Shah and Renée Typaldos: "Shah’s cooking may sound too esoteric for everyday yelpers. But innocents can revel, as we do, in the $34 dinosaur lamb shank, caramelized and fatty, with lamb belly and figs – easily a dish for two, maybe even three. There’s no challenge either in the fine Flatiron steak with sunchoke puree and a crisp fried sweet onion cake, even though the knobby sunchoke cuts themselves are not quite cooked enough." Gael also recommends getting the tongue entree.

Ligaya Mishan loves the Somali fare at Safari in East Harlem: "The meats themselves don’t need further enhancement: a fine rubble of beef fragrant with rosemary and heavily underscored by mitmita, a spice blend in which African bird’s-eye chiles outmuscle cardamom and cloves; flank steak cut thin, fried hard and wholly possessed by ginger and garlic; goat roasted for six hours, arriving in a heap, still armed with bones, along with a refusal to capitulate immediately under the teeth."

The Robs give three U.G. stars to The Tuscan Gun, a new Windsor Terrace restaurant from TV chef Gabriele Corcos: "There is nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary about either the day or night menu, but each has its charms. A Windsor Terracean out for a morning stroll could do worse than to stumble into the place for a coffee and a pancetta-Parmesan scone. Come lunchtime, the counter crew will rightly recommend something involving porchetta-style pork shoulder — either an herb focaccia stuffed with morsels of the beer-braised meat, or a bowl of pasta sauced with its rendered fat and dusted with Pecorino cheese."

[Sadelle's by Nick Solares]

The Blogs: According to The Infatuation, "Sadelle’s is a modern day synagogue you don’t need to be Jewish to belong to, as long as you’re down to pray to the God Of Smoked Salmon." Elsewhere around the blogosphere, The Food Doc really digs the wings at Bar Goto, The Pink Pig likes the garnishes more than the proteins at Meadowsweet, and Joe DiStefano recommends ordering the Grizzly Burger at Long Island City Eastern European restaurant Bear.


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