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Pete Wells Finds That Nishi Is Way Too Loud and Generally Hit or Miss

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The Times critic thinks that David Chang is not holding up his end of the bargain

Pete Wells gave David Chang some time to fix the acoustics at Nishi, but the critic reports that not much as changed at Momofuku's Chelsea restaurant since those noisy early days. Momofuku restaurants are often uncomfortable, and Wells notes: "When it comes to inflicting discomfort, Nishi still holds up its end of the bargain." He likes some of the simple dishes, like the raw beef with radishes, and the mackarel with celery. But some of the more elaborate creations miss the mark:

Too much of the cooking at Nishi is self-referential, inward looking and so concerned with technique that you can’t help being conscious of it. In his early days, Mr. Chang served the kind of food chefs like to eat: intense, animalistic, O.K. with messiness, indifferent to prettiness. Nishi serves the kind of food chefs cook to impress one another.

Wells is not a fan of the ceci e pepe and the chitarra, but he approves of the cocktails, the clams grand Lisbo, and the scallops with kelp. The critic remarks: "If dinner in Changland now includes intelligent drinking, why can’t it also encompass seating and acoustics that won’t leave your lower back in knots and your eardrums in shreds?" One star.

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Momofuku Nishi

232 8th Avenue, Manhattan, NY 10011 (646) 518-1919 Visit Website