— As reported yesterday, Pete Wells files an April Bloomfield/Ken Friedman double feature this week, hitting up the Spotted Pig and its younger sibling Salvation Burger. At the latter, Wells thinks the hot-dog is actually the hit: "The house-baked buns, on the other hand, do make a difference. The top-split roll with a Parker House flavor is a major contributor to the all-around excellence of the oversize hot dog that runs with juices like an Italian sausage when you break its seared skin. Buried under a spicy confetti of giardiniera, the hot dog is this restaurant’s sleeper." One star.
— Meanwhile, in the West Village, the Times critic finds the Spotted Pig deserving of Frank Bruni's previous one star rating: "There can be a haphazardness to the cooking that wasn’t always part of the bargain. The much-praised sheep’s milk gnocchi can be gummy and dense, the chicken liver toasts can be oversweetened with reduced Port and Madeira." He adds: "After my most-recent dinners there, I left thinking that there had to be more rewarding ways to spend the evening." One star.
— Service is polite, and the space is beautiful, but Tejal Rao finds that a lot of the dishes at La Sirena are underwhelming. Here's the Bloomberg critic on one of her favorites: "One of the best is the pici, a perfectly fat, hand-rolled spaghetti that tapers off at the ends. It’s served in a rich, slippery sauce of pork sausage and escarole, and it’s the kind of dish that can send you into a fugue state, eating nonstop, forgetting your wine, your friends, your white shirt, yourself, until your plate is nearly clean." She adds: "There aren’t quite enough dishes that do that at La Sirena." One star.
— At John Fraser's Nix, Gael Greene leaves both visits feeling stuffed, and ultimately has trouble enjoying the heavy dishes: "Nix is not the innocent celebration of vegetables it pretends to be. Is there any other exercise in vegetablism so decked out in cream, salt, sugar and quick frying? Not that I know of. John Fraser has pumped up his verduratific leanings way beyond the dainties in his $120 seven-course vegetable tasting dinner at Dovetail or the carrot Wellington you couldn’t resist at Narcissa." She adds: "Gluttony sneaks up on you here."
— For Ligaya Mishan, each visit to Bite of Hong Kong was better than the last: "Bite of Hong Kong is the kind of restaurant that rewards repeat visits, as you learn its ways and it learns yours." Of the food she adds: "Part of the beauty of a meal here is the procession of textures. Fried chicken, barely shielded by crispy skin as thin as vellum, may be followed by egg tofu, made with eggs and soy milk and close to custard inside, or golden e-fu noodles, chewy from a fizz of carbonated water in the dough."
— In his review of La Sirena, the Post's Steve Cuozzo celebrates Mario Batali's return to New York and the kitchen: "The happiest news about La Sirena is that Molto Mario’s back at the throttle in New York after a decade of global expansion, TV work and environmental activism." Some of Cuozzo's favorites include the roasted orata, caserecce, the beef braciola, and the desserts.
— The ricotta gnocchi is delicate, and the rigatoni is perfectly simple, but Christina Izzo of Time Out New York is particularly taken by the cacio e pepe fritters at Lilia. Ultimately, Izzo has a hard time picking a favorite: "Lilia has an entire menu of destination dishes; the biggest problem you’ll have here, other than scoring a free table, is picking a favorite." She adds: "Robbins’s cooking throughout is exceedingly smart, assured and refreshingly consistent" Five stars.
— Nicolas Niarchos visits Sofrito in Hamilton Heights to find delicious Latin fare served near a sewage plant: "For a lighter touch, try the cod tostones montaditos. This starchy theme continues into the main course, with a superb mofongo al pilón. The green plantain mash can be topped with chicken, beef, shrimp, lobster, or pork stew, and is more than enough for two. Surprisingly, then, from the Latin Asian Corner of the menu comes the Sofrito Roll, a delicious combination of rice, tempura shrimp, and—you guessed it—plantains."
— Zachary Feldman finds that Bon Chovie's brick and mortar is just as good, if not better, than its Smorgasburg stall: "In this new setting, Bon Chovie's anchovies remain pristine: crunchy and slightly bitter from keeping the head on and innards intact. They're great dipped into a smoked-paprika mayonnaise, though I do miss the pickled vegetables that used to come with orders at the stall. If it's acid you want, you'll have to hit the fish with a squeeze from lemon wedges instead. And they're joined by a slew of unfussy plates and seasonal specials on Holland's expanded sit-down menu."
The Blogs: The Food Doc files on Pasquale Jones, Restaurant Girl enjoys her visits to Dinnertable, the Pink Pig tries NYC's newest fancy chicken at Le Coq Rico, and Joe DiStefano has a meal at Tutti Matti in Long Island City.