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Brasserie 44

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Wireless Restaurateurs Ponder Laptop Etiquette

Yesterday Gawker lamented, “How sad and kind of pathetic is it that coffee shops and even bars have been taken over by computers and their zombie-eyed owners?” This got us wondering about the extent to which Wi-Fi–equipped restaurants welcome laptop users, so we rang up a few of them.

Platt Pans Brasserie 44; Make Your Own Guacamole

Bar Blanc
Reading this week’s magazine — or at least the food-related parts of it — had its own special rhythm. First came the shock and guilty excitement of reading Adam Platt’s review of Bar Blanc, which he liked, and Brasserie 44, which he didn't — zero stars. In a week with only one opening (Bridge Vineyards Tasting Room), Rob and Robin taught us how to make guacamole (there's a video, too!) and turned us on to the rebellious risotto at Dell’anima. They also found local treats that are globally inspired and clued us in on the rabbits multiplying across city menus. Gael Greene managed to get a table in the early days of Chop Suey, and her pre-pre-pre-review is favorable.

‘Scruffy Loner’ Heath Ledger Ate Solo at Grotta Azzurra

As our sister blog Daily Intel has pointed out, this week was all about Tom Brady and Eli Manning sightings, with Tom and Gisele hitting the town (what else is new?) and Eli making it a quiet week. Michael Strahan also found a moment to sip chowder (question being, was it New York or New England style?). On a somber note, the Daily News uncovered Heath Ledger’s haunts in Soho: Spring Street Natural and Miro Café among them. The sighting we were most intrigued by, however, occurred in Park City, Utah: Sirio Maccioni eschewed trendier restaurants to hit Burger King. Now there’s a Whopper freakout we’d pay to see.

Chicken to the Rescue at Blue Ribbon Sushi; The Smith Hit Hard

The latest Blue Ribbon Sushi gets a whopping two stars from Frank Bruni, despite its titular sushi being not that great. No, it’s the souped-up fried chicken that added a star, making this two weeks in a row that poultry has saved the day. [NYT] Paul Adams hits new East Village comfort-food zone the Smith with one of his rare bad reviews — generally, he finds the food clumsy and gross: “A main course of lamb schnitzel ($17) shows what the kitchen can do at its best: not particularly much.” Ouch! [NYS] Nor was Danyelle Freeman especially enthralled with Brasserie 44, which got one and a half stars out of four. Her recollections of its food seem highly detailed, suggesting that she didn’t leave her notebook behind. [NYDN] Related: So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?

So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?

Though it may not be a journalistic scandal up there with the Judith Miller saga, the missing notebook found in Brasserie 44, which may or may not belong to Danyelle “Restaurant Girl” Freeman, is getting a lot of play this morning. The story: Notes were left behind at a dinner and, according to their finders, could only be those of a restaurant critic. And, since Freeman is reviewing Brasserie 44 this week, they are naturally thought to be hers. What's the big deal? Aside from the sloppiness factor on the critic's part, which is fun for a quick snicker, what real difference does it make to the reviewer, the reader, or the restaurateur if someone has a piece of paper that says “mushy chicken” on it? Something about Danyelle Freeman just brings out the hate, but we can't say it's not entertaining to watch from the sidelines. Meanwhile, it's a good thing Adam Platt only scribbles his mordant asides on a vellum tablet, or we'd be in trouble here at New York. Which NYC Food Critic Is An Idiot? (Hint: Danyelle Freeman!) [Gawker]

Pamplona Given a New Lease on Life; Bobo Hit Hard

Alex Ureña's somewhat mainstreamed restaurant, Pamplona, earns the catchall two-star rating from Frank Bruni — a great victory for them, since it legitimizes the restaurant and puts it on the solid footing it desperately needed. Bruni doesn't sound especially impressed, however: “His best dishes are more than memorable enough to redeem Pamplona’s shortcomings.” Well, that's good! [NYT] Critics tend to like writing about restaurants that fail badly in one way (such as the food) while succeeding in another, less important way (such as the room). That disjunction gives Danyelle Freeman free rein to jump with both feet onto Bobo. [NYDN] Randall Lane checks in on the two newly opened Mexican restaurants, Toloache and Los Dados and likes them both okay, but he has changed his ways and is now throwing around stars like they were manhole covers: three (of six) for Toloache, home of the famous grasshopper taco, and two for meatpacking trendhole Los Dados. [TONY]