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Two Stars for Semilla, Plus a Takedown of Hunt & Fish Club and More

This week in reviews, one critic pans Midtown's most ridiculous new steakhouse, Lan Larb gets more praise, and more.

Hunt & Fish Club
Hunt & Fish Club
Nick Solares

Yesterday Robert Sietsema reviewed Charrua, a Uruguayan restaurant on the Lower East Side, and Ryan Sutton reviewed the newly reopened Mission Chinese Food. Now here's a roundup of what the rest of the critics are talking about this week:

Pete Wells is impressed by the offbeat, vegetable-centric tasting menu at Semilla: "Semilla tends to save fish and meat for moments when extra depth or intensity are needed. For instance, a paste of salt cod that covered the bottom of a plate in a thin layer, like gesso on raw canvas, acted like a dip for charred cups of cipollini onion and circles of rutabaga. It's a dish that draws you in, as much for the rutabaga...as for the salt cod." Two stars. [NYT]

Zachary Feldman is the latest critic to review Lan Larb, the new Thai restaurant from the chef behind Larb Ubol: "Even with abbreviated Isan options, Lan Larb shines, from the sour pork sausages to the fiery larbs to som tum green papaya salads (try salted crab and fermented fish sauce for a sinus-clearing funk grenade, or chunks of avocado to soften the slap of chiles) and regional street food from all over Thailand." [VV]

Tejal Rao pans Hunt & Fish Club, the opulent Midtown steakhouse catering to the wealthy. On what should be the star of the show, the porterhouse: "Sadly, the meat on a recent evening was corpse-cold, under-seasoned, and cooked so unevenly that it was nearly blue on one side while the other was bloodless and grey. The beef had been mistreated on the carving board as well-sliced into inelegant, crooked pieces that varied wildly in thickness....just as the fat on the slate had begun to congeal, the béarnaise arrived in a small silver pitcher...It was no longer glossy and smooth but dull and deflated, tasting only of white vinegar, like some kind of all-natural, homemade cleaning product." Zero stars. [Bloomberg]

Like Ryan Sutton, Christina Izzo takes on the sprawling menu at Mission Chinese Food, and finds it inconsistent, though often good: "The whole-smoked pork jowl ($35) is over-the-top lardy – one bite satisfies your fat quota for the day. Better are the Jurassic salt-and-pepper lamb rib tips ($37), soft and lax on the bone. Slick a piece of flatbread with kefir crème fraîche, then pile on a few shreds of lamb and a zippy bread-and-butter pickle-it's Mission-gone-Moroccan, and staunchly, singularly Bowien." Three stars [TONY]

THE ELSEWHERE: Ligaya Mishan is impressed by the simple Japanese fare at Izakaya in the East Village. Gael Greene loves a meal at Momofuku Ko, and finds it much friendlier than when she last went, seven years ago.

THE BLOGS: The Infatuation likes the playful Queens Comfort, and is impressed with the pizza at Houdini Kitchen Laboratory, NY Journal finds the health-conscious food at Cafe Clover rather dull, Chopsticks + Marrow dines on Chinese-Korean dumplings in Flushing, NYC Foodie details a meal at Bara in the East Village, Restaurant Girl likes the Korean-influenced ramen at Mokbar in Chelsea Market, and Chekmark Eats has a good meal uptown at the Wayfarer.

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