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Reviews for Pasquale Jones, Cafe Altro Paradiso, Mr. Donahue's, and More

This week Ryan Sutton gives one star to Salvation Burger, April Bloomfield's newest restaurant, and Robert Sietsema visits Bar Omar. Here's a roundup of the rest of this week's big reviews:

Pasquale Jones
Nick Solares

Tejal Rao thinks the clam pizza at Pasquale Jones is one of the best around, but dessert might be her favorite part of the meal: "Like so many of the savory dishes from chef Ryan Hardy, it's delicious and scruffy. On the bottom: roasted rhubarb, coming undone in soft, sour threads. On top: pistachios and the mascarpone ice cream that L'Arte del Gelato delivers daily. In a few seconds, in a few spoonfuls, it’s gone. Twice, I’ve put in a second order for the compact thrill, and twice my table has discussed, potentially, going in on a third. It’s that good." Two stars.

— Ligaya Mishan files a Russian dumpling twofer this week, visiting two Village spots within five blocks of each other. The first is Anton's Dumplings, where Mishan finds delicious and cheap dumplings served from a food cart: "Chicken with the juices raving; an airy mash of potato seemingly unshackled by gravity. All do well topped simply and classically with snips of dill and chives and sour cream in rough cursive. Best may be a smoked Gouda fondue with a trigger of black pepper, which, when spooned over potato dumplings, suggests some strange nexus of nachos and gnocchi."

— At Babushka Cafe a few blocks north, the prices are higher but the result is just as good: "Other dumplings, called vareniki, are filled with a plush blend of ricotta and mozzarella, cabbage wilted with onions or fluffy potatoes annotated with nothing more than salt and pepper. Loveliest are those with a blush, hiding innards of sour cherry, more bracing than sweet."

— Gael Greene enjoys most of what she tries during two visits to Cafe Altro Paradiso. Here is the critic on some of her favorites: "Three of us have chosen pasta, smallish portions, priced from $20 to $24, as a main course. Spaghetti tossed with not enough razor clams and lardo. Morels, asparagus and mint dotting wide bands of lasagnette with serrated edges. I am a fan of 'Paccheri di Grano Arso' (burnt grain), sauced with a chicken and olive ragù. The Milanese di maiale, its thick, crisp crunch wrapping the pounded pork, is definitely the evening favorite. It comes with a bundle of chicory salad alongside."

Photo by Nick Solares
Nick Solares

— Zachary Feldman is pleased to find memorable Bhutanese fare at Weekender Billiard & Bar in Woodside: "Weekender cooks five variations of Bhutan's nationally cherished cheese slurries. In Gyeltshen's version, the creamy sauce is velvety, like béchamel, and fresh, fiery peppers are left whole. There are similar stews suffused with mushrooms or potatoes, and one with dried beef or pork that softens in the soup. The kitchen's slow-roasted, soy-glazed ribs, meanwhile, are memorably succulent."

— At Mr. Donahue's, Christina Izzo digs the food and the no-frills setting: "The kitchen’s slow-roasted beef is a beaut, blushed pink and pepper-charred; you can gravy it with horseradish-zipped steak sauce, but there’s really no need. A half rotisserie chicken may be more generic than gutsy, but it’s judiciously juicy inside its golden skin, and those gamy pork cheeks are tender beneath all that crag; a side of honey mustard-seed sauce serves them well." She adds: "In the ceaseless chaos of New York and, more pointedly, its food scene, we’ll take simple pleasures where we can get them." Four stars out of five.

Photo by Nick Solares

— The fish tacos and chimichangas should be skipped, but Daniel Wenger of Tables for Two still thinks Santa Fe Grill in Park Slope is worth a visit: "Some restaurants are comfortable, some are delectable, and a small number, like Santa Fe, strike a genial balance between the two. For thirty years, the excesses of the space—part sweat lodge, part hunting lodge, with tribal vestments and cow skulls fastened to the stucco walls—have been mellowed by the light of non-electrified candles, deep padded booths, and windowed doors that open onto the sidewalk. Also mellowing: the borough’s best frozen margaritas."

And over on the Blogs: The Pink Pig pays a visit to Benoit and Terroir High Line on its opening day.

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