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Reviews for Resto, Jue Lan Club, Nishi, and More

Ryan Sutton finds a Per Se replacement and awards four stars to Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare. Here's the rest of this weeks big reviews:

Daniel Krieger

This week, a Pete Wells double feature includes reviews for Achilles Heel and Resto, two restaurants where the "meat matters." Here's Wells on Andrew Tarlow's Achilles Heel: "Toast jutted out of a bowl of fleshy, delicious black trumpet mushrooms in their own broth. Excellent, densely seeded bread came alongside fluke with pickled chiles; I’d expected raw fluke, but it had been cured in salt and then restored, like bacalao, into an intensely flavored mash." One star.

— In Kips Bay, Resto keeps the two-star rating it first received from Frank Bruni in 2007. Of one of his favorite dishes Wells notes: "You don’t often meet up with winter salads as dynamic as the one Ms. Grieveson puts together out of endive and celery root with mint, slivers of dried apricots and long twists of lamb bacon; the orange vinaigrette tasted like the sun coming out after a blizzard." Two stars.

On her visits to Jue Lan Club in Chelsea, Tejal Rao receives erratic service, and finds very few dishes to recommend: "At Jue Lan Club, the meat is in skinny, frizzled pieces, thick with a gummy batter and doused in a sticky sweet syrup that looks like something you’d force down to help you sleep. A lot of the savory entrees are not unlike the takeout versions you’d turn to during a night in—at twice the price, and without the comforts of slippers and your favorite giant, unbreakable wine glass." Zero stars.

Although Gael Greene can't stand the blocky chairs at Nishi, she's a big fan of the pasta dishes: "Our foursome votes to skip entrées – hanger steak and barbecue mackerel – instead, sharing a trio of pastas, all of them good. Ceci e pepe made with chickpea hozon, another Chang invention to replace the usual cheese. Spicy beef Sichuan with flat noodles. And our favorite, the clams Grand Lisboa (named for a hotel casino in Macau) with crunchy chow mein noodles and cabbage."

[Nishi] Photo by Gabriele Stabile

[Nishi] Photo by Gabriele Stabile

Ligaya Mishan digs the Albanian cooking at Pravue Cafe in Ridgewood, Queens: "Bureks, which elsewhere in town are often cut into triangles as if to evoke pizza, are here bulging coils of phyllo dough. They flake obligingly at the touch, their insides (ground beef, Bulgarian feta or a weave of spinach and feta) still seething. Excellent alone, they are even better with a daub of house-made yogurt, thick in the style of the Greeks, Albania’s southern neighbors."

— Adam Gopnick enjoys his meals at Vaucluse on the Upper East Side: "Vaucluse, luxurious if not imaginative, delicious if not distinctive, achieves all it seems to attempt, which is to add a humane (and expensive) retreat to what has become something of a restaurant desert in this quaint, old, forgotten neighborhood." He adds: "In truth, one eats very well, if one’s expectations are geared to the kind of place that Vaucluse is trying to be."

Steve Cuozzo gives those giant milkshakes you've probably seen on Instagram a try. Here's Cuozzo on Blacktap's shakes: "Customers wait outside for over an hour in frigid temperatures. They should find a better way to spend their time. Milk shakes made with commercial, bland Blue Bunny ice cream and topped with such exotic elements as Chips Ahoy and cellophane-wrapped lollipops aren’t worth a Cronuts-length sidewalk siege."

[Vaucluse] Photo by Nick Solares

[Vaucluse] Photo by Nick Solares

Zachary Feldman shares his five favorite pot pies for a hearty meal during winter. Of the Massaman lamb roti pot pie at Ngam he writes: "The model-turned-chef has whipped up an addictive twist on a western classic with her take on the humble pot pie. Meltingly soft shredded lamb shoulder simmered in massaman curry sits underneath a blistered roti bread crust, run through with sweet potatoes and cashews for texture and complexity. A ramekin of pickled cucumbers sit alongside for tart relief."

The Blogs: the Pink Pig isn't a big fan of Lupulo, The Infatuation gives Lowlife a 7.9 rating, Goodies First had a lovely Christmas dinner at Tanoshi Sushi, and Joe DiStefano lists his favorite soups for winter.