— Pete Wells is impressed by how Bushwick tasting menu restaurant Blanca has evolved over the last three years. And Pasta Pete just can't get enough of those darn agnolotti: "They burst when you bite down with an oozing, inky-green liquid made from melted taleggio and phytoplankton. The flavor is like a distillation of spinach, seaweed and squid ink. It’s a totally disorienting sensation, and while I love it, not everyone will." Three stars. [NYT]
— Steve Cuozzo is a big, big fan of Le District, the Eataly-esqure French market/dining complex in the Financial District. He especially digs the snails at the sit-down restaurant: "You won’t want to miss escargots de Bourgogne, the snails out of their shells amid Le Puy lentils, bacon and bubbly parsley foam — a $15 starter rich enough for an entree. The kitchen’s still finding its way with some dishes but clicks overall." Despite the occasional stumble, he gives the whole shebang four stars. [NYP]
— Tejal Rao gives two stars to Bowery Meat Co. She loves the meat, but warns that you might not have room for it if you order too much other stuff: "There is unnecessary weight on the menu. Bowery Meat Co., in the height of summer, is serving fried polenta with a hearty stew of mushrooms and tomato, along with short rib ravioli. These dishes are fine, but they’re obscenely heavy distractions from the task at hand: steak." [Bloomberg]
— Meanwhile, Adam Platt files his impressions of a recent trip to Paris. Here's the big difference between that city and NYC, according to Platty: "The dining rooms are quieter, the service is more courtly and professional, and the meals, even if they're familiar, proceed at a more stately, civilized pace." He thinks New York still has better pizza, burgers, and steaks. [NYM]
— Zachary Feldman digs the beef rolls and everything else at Sri Lankan newcomer Kottu House on the Lower East Side: "The filling — coarsely ground beef mixed with shredded vegetables and curry powder — blooms with an explosion of spice. The aromatic meat hash is encased in godamba roti, a pancake-like griddled flatbread that forms a texturally appealing shell around the beef when fried: at once shatteringly crisp and chewy." [VV]
Josh Stein loves the food and drinks at Lower East Side newcomer Wassail: "Dishes like peas, with smoked ricotta and olive oil ($13), expose the vegetal pea-ness of the peas. Some are blanched, some are fresh, some are snow and some are English. Together, bonded by ricotta and given depth by the nutty Argan oil, they are both recognizable and reincarnated." Five stars out of five.
The Elsewhere: Ligaya Mishan gives a big thumb's up to I Love Paraguay in Sunnyside, Michael Kaminer doles out four stars (out of five) to Virginia's in the East Village, and Gael Greene revisits some favorite dishes at Upland and The Cecil.
The Blogs: The Food Doc files a detailed recap of last night's Momofuku Ssam Bar dinner with Jeremy Fox, The Pink Pig finds precise cooking and an interesting wine list at Wildair, The Infatuation is not impressed by Beaubourg, and Chopsticks & Marrow loves the gardenia bean jelly at Szechuan Taste in Flushing.