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Pete Wells Loves the Scene at Santina, Tejal Rao Can't Get Behind Zuma

This week, the critics are loving Santina's beach vibes, Ganso Yaki's dumplings, and Seamstress's smoke-heavy menu.

Daniel Krieger

Yesterday Ryan Sutton awarded four stars to the new Momofuku Ko, and Robert Sietsema awarded two stars to the Finch, an ambitious Clinton Hill bistro. Now here's a roundup of what the rest of the critics are talking about:

Pete Wells gets swept up in the sunny style of Santina: "Most of the food, particularly toward the top of the menu, is charming and playful in a way that's hard to fight. The rice-salad concept applied to shrimp zingara is a lively, spicy hit. Beyond seafood, Santina has a very winning way with vegetables." Two stars. [NYT]

Tejal Rao visits Midtown behemoth Zuma, where the service is spotty and the scene tends to outweigh the food: "The tempura arrived in the hollowed-out body of a lobster. It looked pretty dramatic, like something from a crustacean's darkest nightmare, but it tasted quite plain and greasy, overcooked and anonymous. Beef tataki wrapped around fresh herbs was livelier and more delicate, but the black truffle slices on top were crumbly and dry, as if freeze-dried for a safe voyage to outer space." One star. [Bloomberg]

Zachary Feldman dines at Seamstress on the Upper West Side, where the menu is impressive, but needs a little tweaking: "A grilled mutton burger would rank among the city's finest — if only it weren't swallowed up by an ungainly brioche bun...But no such shortcomings mar a massive brined-and-smoked pork shank, whose Flintstonian bone hovers over downy grits ladled with piquant gravy made from coffee, fermented black beans, and dry bush tomatoes." [VV]

Steve Cuozzo, like Wells, is charmed by the scene at Santina: "Almond pesto vividly green-tints minestrone formulated with rare, herbal passion and thick with royal trumpet mushrooms, zucchini, chickpeas and shaved pecorino. Tortellini filled with sheep's milk ricotta belie their familiar appearance. Gossamer on the tongue, they're coated in pesto that mellows the acidic note of marinara sauce." Two and a half stars. [NYP]

Christina Izzo checks out Ganso's new izakaya sibling, Ganso Yaki: "Ivan Orkin's Lancaster Okonomiyaki has some competition in [Tadashi] Ono's inch-thick Osaka-style savory pancake ($10), heartily studded with hunks of salty pork belly and wilted slips of cabbage, but the must-order here is, surprisingly, a humble pan of sizzling, irresistible yaki shumai ($9), browned, seared-crisp dumpling casings yielding to a tender pork-and-vegetable filling." Four stars. [TONY]

THE ELSEWHERE: Amelia Lester enjoys Noreetuh, the new Hawaiian restaurant in the East Village. Ligaya Mishan is impressed by Casa del Chef in Woodside. Sarah Zorn thinks Ganso Yaki needs some work. Gael Greene is won over by Shuko.

THE BLOGS: The Infatuation says Totonno's is still worth the trip to Coney Island, Chekmark Eats falls for Estela, NY Journal is not impressed by Javelina, Restaurant Girl doesn't love her meal at Beaubourg, NYC Foodie eats Vietnamese at Than Hoai 1, the Food Doc loves the new chef's tasting menu at Betony, and Chopsticks + Marrow finds two great new dumpling spots in Flushing.


128 1st Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10009 (646) 892-3050 Visit Website


47 East 12th Street, Manhattan, NY 10003 (212) 228-6088 Visit Website


339 East 75th Street, Manhattan, NY 10021 (212) 288-8033 Visit Website

Zuma NYC

261 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016 (212) 544-9862

Ganso Yaki

515 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn , NY