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Reviews for I Sodi, Pasquale Jones, Sushi Nakazawa, and More

Here's a roundup of this week's big reviews:

La Sirena
Nick Solares

— As noted yesterday, Pete Wells finds that Rita Sodi's eight-year-old restaurant I Sodi is getting better with time. Of Sodi's cooking, he writes: "There can’t be any doubt that she is one of the city’s great pasta practitioners when you eat I Sodi’s square little chestnut-filled chestnut-flour tortelli in a sauce of butter and grated cheese, or butter-slicked ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach under fried sage leaves, or spaghetti cacio e pepe, noodles that twirl up into your mouth with a wiggle, carrying a black-pepper bite that lingers on and on." Two stars.

— In a double feature this week, New York's Adam Platt files on Pasquale Jones from the Charlie Bird team, and Mario Batali's La Sirena. Of the former, Platt has few negative things to say, praising everything from the pizza, dessert, and proteins: "In addition to a handful of generally well-executed pastas (try the baby-goat pappardelle or the deeply funky, anchovy-laced Martelli spaghetti), there are just four entrées available at this diminutive, oddly named, highly satisfying restaurant, all of which emerge sizzling from the wood-burning oven in varying states of deliciousness." Three stars.

Photo by Nick Solares

— At La Sirena however, Platt finds more misses, comparing the restaurant to a cruise ship: "But at this early shakedown-cruise stage of the proceedings, the actual dining rooms felt generic, and with the exception of a few stout red-sauce classics, so does much of the cooking. I liked my nicely cooked quail alla piastra appetizer, but unlike the sea bass at Pasquale Jones, the orata that followed it had a distinctive fishiness to it." One star.

— Bloomberg's Tejal Rao celebrates the expansion of a once 20-seat only Sushi Nakazawa, making it easier than ever for diners to enjoy some of the best sushi on earth, she writes: "And for anyone who’s tried and failed to get a seat for dinner, the lounge can be an introduction to Nakazawa’s style. Though you can’t get the omakase, you can order a few of the delicious three-piece flights a la carte, the very same plates people are eating next door. There’s a trilogy of Atlantic bluefin tuna in which the fishy star grows progressively fattier." Two stars.

Photo by Nick Solares

— It may not live up to the food from her visit to Cambodia, but Gael Greene is a fan of Angkor Cambodian Bistro on the Upper East Side. Greene runs through some of the hits and misses: "Nyoam, rice vermicelli with ground fish in red curry sauce, lacks oomph, too. Another red star wipeout. Neither the barbecued chicken nor the roast duck are as rewarding as thin slices of deep-fried tamarind duck with pineapple. That disappears quickly. I like the shrimp and avocado curry more than the yellow curry with pumpkin, long beans and eggplant in coconut milk."

— At BK Jani in Bushwick, Ligaya Mishan finds a wonderful option for halal food and, somewhat surprisingly, a really great burger: "BK Jani is at once a nostalgic homage to the street food of his childhood in Lahore, Pakistan, and an answer to the problem of where to find a good halal burger in New York. His is better than good, possibly one of New York’s best, halal or no."  She adds: "In truth you could throw a dart at the menu blindfolded and still be happy."

— The waits can be long and hard to predict, but the food at Okonomi / Yuji Ramen is well worth it, according to Becky Cooper of Tables for Two: "It comes with a choice of fish, and you can’t go wrong—the salt-flecked mackerel is as perfect a bite as the kombu-cured roasted sea bass. But the real showstopper is the optional onsen egg, gently poached until the white and the yolk are the same molten texture. Served with more of that unforgettable sea urchin, it begs to be stirred into the rice. You leave nourished more than full."

Photo by Nick Solares

— Many of the dishes at Soho Tiffin Junction are great since Wylie Duferesne stepped in, but Zachary Feldman is particularly smitten with the chicken tenders: "Soho Tiffin Junction's chicken tenders are outstanding, the bird marinated in curry and fried to a brown crisp. They arrive as a bulky trio, coated in a masala chickpea flour that makes them taste like a cross between boneless wings and ayam goreng, the turmeric-tinged fried chicken popular throughout Indonesia and Malaysia." Of Dufresene he adds: "Over the past decade as a chef, Dufresne has struggled to appeal to a mass audience. At a fast-casual restaurant, he may finally do just that."

The Blogs: The Restaurant Girl files the early word on Scott Conant's Impero Caffe, Joe DiStefano ranks his top five veggie dishes in Flushing, and Goodies First visits Margot's Pizza.

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