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Pete Wells Is Impressed by Fung Tu's Progress, Other Critics Challenge the Tex-Mex Frenzy

This week's restaurant reviews are down on Javelina and El Original.

El Original
El Original
Nick Solares

Yesterday, Ryan Sutton awarded two stars to Fung Tu, the year-and-a-half-old Chinese American restaurant. Now here's a roundup of the rest of the week's restaurant reviews:

Pete Wells also paid a visit to Fung Tu, and like Ryan Sutton, was impressed with its progress: "Fried soft-shell clams appeared on the menu when spring got into gear. Their breading was a shade too thick, but Mr. Wu surrounded them with flavors that could make a clam rake taste good. First, he dusted them with dehydrated tomatoes, dried ginger and ground chiles, a blend that is a staple of Indian curries but becomes newly exciting in powdered form. Fermented black beans echoed the blend's sour-salty theme." Two stars [NYT]

Tejal Rao tackles New York's duo of trendy new Tex-Mex restaurants, Javelina and El Original. At Javelina: "The chile relleno, a fried green poblano filled with a thread of cumin-y beef, is particularly good, the sweet, vegetal flavors melded and soft with a sprinkling of raisins, under a network of semi-melted yellow and white shredded cheese. The simple enchilada de Tejas is filled with cheese and comes under a red chili gravy made from anchos, nearly black, blandly sour and flat, but the diners around me are putting it away like it's their last night on earth." Both places, she decides, could use a little more "finesse." [Bloomberg]

Adam Platt is even less enthused by Javelina and El Original. At El Original: "the 'crispy' beef tacos reminded me of something you'd pick up in the taco section of your local supermarket, and the endless combinations of enchiladas, tamales, and refried beans reminded one disgruntled Texan at the table of 'glorified TV-dinner food.'" Javelina fares no better, and both get zero stars. [GS/NYM]

Michael Kaminer is disappointed by Bed-Stuy newcomer L'Antagoniste: "Arid roasted chicken ($25) gets some help from jus on the plate, and a luscious potato gratin (that nonetheless had a gray, hospital-food appearance). Sea bass Colbert ($33) turns out L'Antagoniste's unlikely star. Its humble preparation shrouds the fish in a mix of milk, olive oil, breadcrumbs, flour, and pepper. Plated simply with firm carrots in a vivid basil pesto, it's a terrific spring dish." Besides that fish, desserts are the only redeeming quality. Two stars. [NYDN]

THE ELSEWHERE: Amelia Lester has a meal at the new Momofuku Ko. Ligaya Mishan has a cheese-drenched meal at Raclette. Gael Greene is transported to Paris by dinner at Maison Kayser's cafe.

THE BLOGS: The Infatuation finds good Thai food on the Upper East Side at Up Thai, Restaurant Girl has high praise for Polo Bar, Chekmarks eats at the semi-secret Bohemian, NYC Foodie checks out the Camlin, Chopsticks + Marrow eats a super spicy bowl of noodles at Plant Love House, and Gothamist deems Hugh & Sons a great new neighborhood spot for Park Slope.

Javelina Tex-Mex

119 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

Fung Tu

22 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 (212) 219-8785 Visit Website

El Original

735 10th Ave, New York, NY

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