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Reviews for Vaucluse, Avant Garden, L'Amico, and More

This week, Sietsema gives one star to the flaming margaritas and wet burritos at L'Encanto D'Lola. Here's a roundup of the rest of this week's big reviews:

[The Dining Room at Vaucluse]
[The Dining Room at Vaucluse]
Nick Solares

After a break last week, Pete Wells holds nothing back in his assessment of Michael White's Vaucluse: "The potato tart is a jumble of sliced fingerlings, lardons, bits of Camembert and truffles waiting for something to happen. Nothing is going to happen as long as they’re all loafing on a crackerlike crust that you could safely serve to a patient on a no-flavor diet." One star.

[L'Amico] By Nick Solares

[L'Amico] By Nick Solares

Carbohydrates are the move at L'Amico for Christina Izzo from TONY: "Like any French chef worth his toque, Tourondel clearly knows his way around a carbohydrate, and house-made pastas are further proof. Cranked through an extruder in the open kitchen, tender curls of pipe rigate are richened with veal-shoulder bolognese, and a seasonal fusilli is gamely tossed with zesty sausage, bitter greens and pine nuts."

Avant Garden has a fan in Silvia Killingsworth of Tables for Two: "Cubed beets and mango over creamy avocado has the look of a tartare but the taste of a zesty high-end guacamole, rounded out with savory notes of black sesame and tamari. Potato cannelloni arrives looking more like a pirouline, and is pleasingly hot, salty, and crispy, a contrast to the thick coins of eggplant 'merguez' beneath it, so soft it practically dissolves. Spaghetti pomodoro with capers, basil, and bread crumbs is exactly as it sounds: an unbeatable, already vegan classic."

Gael Greene, who accidentally visited La Chine on opening night, is pleasantly surprised by the restaurant's poached chicken: "That $16 small plate is undeniably the best choice of the night, better even than large, slightly chewy pieces of Maine lobster, wok seared, with black bean and wild fern. Better than the remarkably good Peking duck. We order the whole duck because it comes with a follow-up dish of chopped duck with water chestnuts, garlic, scallion, and pine nuts in four crisp lettuce cups."

Ligaya Mishan hits up Little Manila newcomers Bago and Tito King's Kitchen. Of Bago, the critic writes: "The food here is studiously simple: a relaxed, long-simmered chicken adobo; bok choy and spinach afloat in an almost monastic broth, faintly sour with tamarind juice; breakfast assemblages of fried whole milkfish, sweet-hot sausage or dark, thin, caramelly cuts of beef, each abetted by a fried egg and powerfully garlicky rice."

— Zachary Feldman is a big fan of chef Joseph Buenconsejo's vegetarian fare and the ciders at Wassail: "Seldom does anything arrive that fails to impress, and all of it — down to Buenconsejo's house-made sourdough and bar snacks like Scotch eggs and mushroom escabeche — finds suitable matches among the restaurant's massive cider inventory. Ministered to by head bartender Jade Sotack and beverage director Dan Pucci, the list offers nearly a hundred varieties, many of which hail from New York State."

[Mission Chinese] by Krieger Photo: Daniel Krieger

[Mission Chinese] By Daniel Krieger

The Blogs: Andrew Steinthal of The Infatuation gives an 8.2 rating to The Ribbon, Joe DiStefano digs the "Russian ramen" at Bear in LIC, and The Pink Pig finds the menu at Mission Chinese to be a little over the top.


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