— As noted yesterday, Pete Wells downgrades Thomas Keller's Per Se from four stars to two in his latest review. The critic writes: "With each fresh review, a restaurant has to earn its stars again. In its current form and at its current price, Per Se struggled and failed to do this, ranging from respectably dull at best to disappointingly flat-footed at worst." On service at the three star Michelin restaurant he adds: "Wine glasses sat empty through entire courses. Once, the table was set for dessert so haphazardly that my spoon ended up next to my water glass instead of my plate. Sitting down after a trip to the restroom, one of my guests had his chair pushed back into place with a hard shove." Two stars.
— At Lowlife in the Lower East Side, Tejal Rao enjoys the borscht and several other dishes. However the Bloomberg critic doesn't think any are meant for sharing: "It’s even more difficult to split a plate of pumpkin and squash that’s been built for one person to rummage in with a fork in search of delightful, hidden banks of cheese and sauce. You could easily miss dots of chimichurri on that lovely plate of herring and sardines if you’re taking a bite or two and passing it along. And this would be tragic." Rao closes: "Lowlife is strongest, most delightful, when it's giving you things you didn't already know you loved." Two stars.
— Amelia Lester of Tables for Two also enjoys many dishes at Lowlife: "You might wish for more of the straightforward flavors, like those in the rustic garganelli with lamb Bolognese, notable for both its rich tomato sauce and its delightfully gratuitous sprinkling of bread crumbs. Or the chicken yakitori, with an exquisite glaze that makes even the accompanying smoked cabbage taste exciting."
— At Zing's Awesome Rice, Ligaya Mishan finds a fresh take on fried rice: "Less time commingling in the pan means that each addition remains distinct. The result is lighter and cleaner in flavor, but it's kind of like a rock band recording each instrument in isolation to a click track."
— Christina Izzo is a fan of the less expensive dishes at La Chine: "Go a less-fussy route with beef tongue, soft and tender with whiffs of lemongrass ($15), or chilled Szechuan chicken, leavened with garlic and ginger beneath a handful of peanuts ($16). Or simply do as seemingly every other table is doing and get the Peking duck (whole $70, half $45). What it lacks in good, tooth-testing skin crackle, it makes up for in sweet, near-melting flesh." Three stars.
The Blogs: Restaurant Girl dubs Wildair one of her favorite new restaurants, Ben Kopelman of The Infatuation gives Lam Zhou Handmade Noodle an 8.1 rating, Joe DiStefano finds Whit's End worthy of the trek, The Food Doc hits up Nishi in its first week, and the Pink Pig finds a great vegan option in Avant Garden.