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Reviews for Sadelle's, Manila Social Club, Babu Ji, and More

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Robert Sietsema gives two stars to the Tibetan fare at Cholsum in Jackson Heights. Here's a roundup of the rest of this week's big reviews:

Nick Solares

It's no secret that Pete Wells is a big fan of Melissa Weller's sticky buns, but the critic finds the rest of the menu at Sadelle's — and dinner service as a whole — a bit underwhelming: "Breakfast and lunch can be chaotic. The menu sprawls all over the place, although at its core it's not so different from Barney Greengrass's. It strikes almost everybody as overpriced." The critic notes: "Open since September, Sadelle's is the first restaurant from Major Food Group that doesn't feel completely worked out." One star.

New York's Adam Platt also loves the pastries at Sadelle's but finds the rest of the menu to be hit or miss: "During the week, breakfast is served until three in the afternoon at Sadelle’s, but as the day goes on, the theme and purpose of this somewhat rudderless establishment grow increasingly garbled and confused." On Major Food Group Platt adds: "[T]he feeling you get here, especially at dinnertime, is that they’re running out of good ideas." One star for the baked goods and another for breakfast. Minus a star for everything else.

At Manila Social Club in Williamsburg, Ligaya Mishan likes most of what she tries: "Nostalgia likewise suffuses Mr. DelaCruz’s finest dishes, like liempo (pork belly) braised in coconut milk, so lush it made me close my eyes, to have a moment alone with it. Sirloin steak is slow-cooked, then seared with soy and calamansi juice — added at the last minute so its sting is barely blunted — and dredged in an ash of leeks and onions that have been dehydrated, nearly burned and pulverized."

Silvia Killingsworth of Tables for Two digs the chef's menu selections at Babu Ji: "Next he brought them crispy croquettes of hung yogurt—the Indian version of Greek yogurt, strained and thick—with a zingy fuchsia-colored beetroot-ginger sauce and an edible orchid too pretty to eat. One of Singh’s neatest tricks was his "Colonel Tso’s" cauliflower, lightly fried and served piping hot in a tomato-chili sauce. This imitation isn’t flattery, it’s superiority."

[Babu Ji] Photo by Daniel Krieger

[Babu Ji] Photo by Daniel Krieger

Zachary Feldman is a fan of all the Viennese fare Thomas Ferlesch is serving up at Werkstatt: "Pay attention to the specials board: Daily compositions like just-cooked Scottish salmon with squash-truffle-honey sauce, or a pile of soft chicken livers bolstered by riesling-glazed apples, allow Ferlesch to flex his fine-dining muscles while maintaining a forgiving $18 price ceiling."

Christina Izzo praises Einat Admony's Israel-meets-Spain fusion at Combina: "A paella inspired by Lebanese mujadara (a lentil dish pockmarked with onions) is a clever revision ($28), but the simple, tender lamb chops ($32), equally Sephardic and Spanish in harissa-charged romesco, prove this union is of the blessed kind." Four out of five stars.

[Combina] Photo by Nick Solares

[Combina] Photo by Nick Solares

The Blogs: The Infatuation's Chris Stang gives Quality Eats an 8.4 rating, Joe DiStefano finds a few remedies at Kulu Desserts, The Food Doc celebrates New Year's Eve at Sadelle's & Ssam Bar, and Restaurant Girl lists her top restaurants in 2015.

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