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15 East

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Drink Japan Without Leaving Little Italy

sake
Sake has been the next big trend for so long that we’ve been loathe to recognize it now that it’s actually arriving. If, like us, you're utterly mystified by the stuff (not being able to read the bottle is part of it), check out the Joy of Sake next week. The city's biggest sake event will hit the Puck Building on Thursday featuring 300 different sakes, at least a third of which aren't available outside of Japan. The restaurant lineup looks good too: Seventeen restaurants are creating dishes meant to be paired with sake, including wd-50, Sakagura, and 15 East. Tickets are $75 in advance, $90 at the door. Joy of Sake [Official Site]

Suba Called ‘Dazzling’; Shopsin's Called...Shopsin's

Suba, Boqueria’s ambitious sister restaurant, gets two stars from Frank Bruni, who goes so far as to say “the best of the food here is distinctive and exciting. In a few instances it’s even dazzling.” Suba, underbuzzed and on a bad block, needed a big boost and got it. [NYT] Randall Lane isn’t impressed with the East Village Yacht Club, or for that matter Smith and Mills. Two stars out of six, and it sounds like they were lucky to get that. [TONY] Peter Meehan’s review of the new Shopsin’s begins with his best lede ever: “Tolstoy had it wrong about happy families, because there are none like the Shopsins.” The food, though beside the point, sounds about as good as before. [NYT] Related: A Taste of Kenny Shopsin

15 East Offers a ‘Study in Seaweed’

15 East, Tocqueville’s long-planned sister restaurant, has made a lot of fans with its excellent sushi and sashimi. But owner Marco Moreira’s proudest achievement may be the “degustation of sea lettuces,” a $14 appetizer that presents New Yorkers with eleven varieties of authentic Japanese seaweed. “Seaweed is so unappreciated here,” he says. “You see seaweed salads that come in already dressed and frozen, with different seaweeds mixed together. I wanted to create a dish that showcases different seaweeds, textures, looks, and flavors.” As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to see them described in Moreira’s own words.

Hill Country Triumphs; Perilla Gets Measured Praise, Three Times Over

Peter Meehan hails Hill Country as the barbecue to beat in New York, at least as far as beef is concerned: “[The deckle brisket] is a thing of balance and of beauty.” [NYT] As much as Meehan liked the place, Steve Cuozzo may like it even more, not hesitating to crown it New York’s best: “Lots of New York places now claim to have ‘real’ barbecue, and some truly do. But until they catch up with Hill Country, they’re just blowing smoke.” [NYP] 15 East feels the glow of two-star approval, especially for its star octopus. Ushiwakamaru, though not as good, is cheaper, and that’s worth something. [NYT]

Fette Sau and 15 East Get Strong Endorsements From the Experts

Peter Meehan gives a highly thought-out, admiring review (probably the most knowledgeable one so far) of Fette Sau, taking pain to mention the place’s few but significant shortcomings. [NYT] Related: Fette Sau’s Weird Williamsburg Barbecue Palace [Grub Street] Alan Richman, a person with highly developed opinions about sushi, thinks 15 East a great find: “If you have pricey seafood cravings without the wherewithal to finance them, I don't believe you can do better than 15 East,” he says. [Bloomberg] Frank Bruni inexplicably reviews Max Brenner: Chocolates by the Bald Man, a place that no one would ever expect to be good. Unsurprisingly, he hands them a bagel. [NYT] Related: Milking It [NYM]

Dueling Views on Morandi; Varietal Taken to Task

Morandi gets absolutely slaughtered by Steve Cuozzo. Keith McNally has hardly received a bad review yet. [NYP] Meanwhile, Moira Hodgson loves the place: “You’ll want to taste everything on this menu.” She seems to have liked all of it, with the possible exception of an overpriced veal chop. Did these two even go to the same restaurant? [NYO] Bruni one-stars Varietal, calling the food creative but uneven and lambasting avant-garde dessert chef Jordan Kahn, who has enjoyed a lot of critical love. The desserts “don’t so much eschew convention as pummel and shatter it — literally, and often pointlessly.” [NYT]

Space for Even Your Butt in Williamsburg This Weekend

Harlem: Eat at Dinosaur, get bowling discount. [UPTOWN flavor] Lower East Side: Holes suspected in Schiller’s rubber glove story. That’s right, holes. [Gridskipper] Soho: Babouche, the Moroccan restaurant and lounge brought to us by the people behind Barbes, now serves brochettes at brunch. [PDF: Babouche NYC] Tribeca: Former Abboccato sous chef Greg Johnson is the new chef de cuisine at Dani. Sun amuses self calling the cook Dani Boy. [NYS] Union Square: 15 East now serving lunch. But why didn’t the Eater boys “live-blog” the event? [NYS] West Village: Blind Tiger will open at 4 p.m. today with beer on tap after an exasperating tug-of-war with the SLA. [Grub Street] Williamsburg: Mystery Japanese restaurant on North 6th thought to open tonight. [A Test of Will] But you probably won’t get in until this weekend. [i'm not saying, I'm just saying] Thankfully new tapas joint Nita Nita has room enough for wide asses. [Bad Advice]

Anthos Broadsided, Gramercy Tavern Hammered

Bruni sympathetically reviews Nish, handing down two stars, but he seems less impressed than other critics (with the exception of Randall Lane). [NYT] Peter Meehan enjoys the tapas at Ostia, but suggests that the trend may have played itself out. [NYT] Alan Richman gives what may be the first totally negative write-up of Gramercy Tavern: Apparently the food is complicated and bland, the service undersupervised, and the room lacking in personality. A major blow to new chef Michael Anthony. [Bloomberg] Related: Everything Topsy-Turvy at Gramercy Tavern