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Reviews for Cafe Altro Paradiso, Indian Accent, Agern, and More

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

Cafe Altro Paradiso
Nick Solares

The dishes may be small, and not the prettiest, but Pete Wells is still a fan of Ignacio Mattos's cooking at Cafe Altro Paradiso: "[F]or now, just play the kitchen’s game and schedule pasta as a midmeal diversion. Eat the slow-cooked chicken ragù brightened with briny green olives and tossed with skinny, chewy tubes of garganelli and you should be happy. Have the near-transparent sheets of cannelloni rolled up around a light, unsoggy filling of ricotta flecked with greens, and you should be even happier." As mentioned yesterday, Pete Wells gives the restaurant two stars.

At Indian Accent, Bloomberg's Tejal Rao finds the rigid menu structure off-putting. Still, Rao enjoys most of what she tries: "Mehrotra serves delicious morels, stuffed with more morels brightened with green chilies and warmed with a mixture of sweet brown spices called garam masala, fried in butter. They're exquisite. One of the most impressive updates comes at dessert, a cloud of saffron-infused malai; the reduced milk shot here from the tip of a nitrous oxide-charged canister. It arrives under a confetti of rose petals and jaggery (a raw sugar with a diamond crunch) and it’s spectacular, with all the flavor of pure, sweet milk and none of its weight." One star.

Photo by Nick Solares

Ligaya Mishan celebrates the return of chef Angela Pellew-Whyte's restaurant Angela's in Bed-Stuy after over 10 years since it closed : "[T]he most satisfying things to eat here reach back to the food of her childhood, like okra, beautifully tender without a hint of gooeyness, and fat angled cuts of sweet plantains, soft and warm, browned until the sugars stand out."

Some of the dishes are weird, but Gael Greene finds a lot of wonderful options at Agern: "Reassuringly, the bread looks like bread and tastes like bread: so delicious, warm and already cut into quarters in its earthenware baking dish. 'Just baked,' we are told. Piled on a chunk of black stone, the craggy hill of butter -- whipped with buttermilk and cider vinegar powder -- is remarkable, too."

Photo by Nick Solares

At Antoine Westermann's Le Coq Rico, Adam Platt finds some hits and misses: "A small, watery $34 fricassee consisting of bullet-hard chicken chunks and barely visible shreds of Maine lobster tasted, according to one of my slightly peevish guests, like 'an elevated form of hospital food.' My gamy, perfectly roasted squab breast ($34, and packaged, intricately, in softly braised cabbage leaves) was a pleasure to eat, on the other hand, and Westermann’s bountiful, strangely underseasoned, tough-boned Alsatian baeckeoffe was a little bit of both." Two stars.

The prices are right, and the portions are big, but Becky Cooper of Tables for Two finds that the food at El Atoradero can be inconsistent: "The albondigas enchipotladas—pork meatballs drenched in chipotle sauce—are dry and dull one meal, transcendent the next. The mixiotes, masterfully undersold by the bartender one night as 'a mixture of dark chicken in a bag,' is a standout. The meat—drowned in orange juice, covered in those hard-earned avocado leaves, and steam-braised in a plastic baggy—is impossible to stop eating. Meanwhile, the squash-blossom quesadilla languishes, stuffed with a sad vegetable hash. Most sacrilegious of all, those famous carnitas are disappointing, with grizzled bits of fat and cartilage."

Zachary Feldman enjoys a lot of the West African dishes at Bognan International: "Chicken comes fried or braised in tomato spiked with cumin and curry, and Kamal is quick to recommend the waakye, a deeply spiced mash of beans and rice served with beef and fish stewed with tomatoes. Smothered under a ladling of goat stew, Ali's jollof rice, one of West Africa's most popular dishes, is here rendered as a massive plate of spaghetti and tomato-spiked pilaf crowned with a hard-boiled egg." He adds: "The title 'Bognan' is a Tchokossi colloquialism for a person who is overwhelmingly hospitable. Thanks to owners Ali and Kamal, the small restaurant embraces its moniker wholeheartedly."

The Blogs: The Food Doc has lunch at Momofuku Ko, and Goodies First visits the Oceanic Bowl.

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