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Reviews for Wassail, Vaucluse, Brasserie, and More

Here's a roundup of this week's new restaurant reviews.

[Wassail]
[Wassail]
Bess Adler

Pete Wells is a fan of the vegetable dishes at Wassail on the Lower East Side but the cider is what keeps him going back. The Times critic notes: "I tended to be happiest when I treated Wassail as a bar where the food is surprisingly interesting but cider, doing things I never expected it to do, carries the night. As a destination for exploring nuances of the apple, Wassail is so exceptional that I don't mind working around its occasional shortcomings as a restaurant." One star.

[Wassail] Photo by: Bess Adler

[Wassail] Photo by: Bess Adler

Tejal Rao pays her final visits to Brasserie and The Four Seasons in the landmarked Seagram Building, both of which are closing in the near future. The Bloomberg critic realizes that the food is not the biggest draw at these restaurants. Of The Four Seasons she writes: "Half the pleasure comes from being in that coldly beautiful, resolutely elitist dining room full of suits, knowing that John F. Kennedy celebrated his 45th birthday there in 1962, with crab meat baked in a sea shell. That Norman Mailer threw his own 50th birthday bash at the Four Seasons (and charged $50 a head). Graydon Carter, Aretha Franklin, Anna Wintour, and Martha Stewart were among the restaurant’s longtime regulars. Diana, Princess of Wales, came for lunch in the late '90s, just after Alex von Bidder and Julian Niccolini took the ownership."

On their list of the best sandwiches of 2015, the Robs include Superiority Burger's "Yuba Philadelphia," Upland's roasted porchetta & egg, and Porchetta's "Porchetta Cubano." Of Sara Jenkins's creation, they write: "The thing you realize when you go to Sara Jenkins’s East Village takeout shop is that there is no classic sandwich that isn’t improved upon by a factor of 20 when you substitute porchetta for whatever pork preparation is traditionally called for. Case in point: Jenkins’s brand-new porchetta Cubano, which follows in the footsteps of the porchetta bánh mì she rolled out last year."

Through all of its opulence, Zachary Feldman is still confident that everyone can enjoy a meal at Altamarea's French restaurant Vaucluse: "Altamarea presents buttoned-up Vaucluse as a brasserie for the one percent, but White and Gadbaw's propensity for heavy, richly larded cooking helps make this menu of elevated classics accessible to those who might otherwise be turned off by the high prices. You won't go hungry splitting the $45 tournedos or bulky slabs of defiantly soft duck-and-pork terrines — mesmerizing $19 meat mosaics encased in pastry and set next to quail-egg-topped frisée salads."

[Vaucluse] Photo by Nick Solares

[Vaucluse] Photo by Nick Solares

The Blogs: Joe DiStefano digs the sizzling momos at Spicy Tibet, The Pink Pig finally finds something great east of Clinton Street at Lowlife, and The Infatuation gives the chicken buns and wings at Jun-Men Ramen a 7.7 rating.

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