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It’s Pancake Month — Where to Celebrate; New Fresco Financial District Will Be Huge

Astoria: Igloo, at 22-26 31st Street, serves brunch, and the fries are “hot and crisp, not soggy at all.” That would describe the ideal fry, no? [Joey in Astoria] Financial District: A second Fresco on the Go is set to open in May at 10 Hanover Square, only this version will be 8,000 square feet and "combine elements of a retail store, restaurant, and party space." [Zagat] Morningside Heights: It’s Pancake Month! And it’s no surprise that some of the best hot cakes in town can be found at Clinton Street’s sister restaurant, Community Food & Juice. [Gridskipper] Tribeca: The new sommelier at Cercle Rouge, Jorge Riera, comes from the late 360 in Red Hook, and he’s hosting a biodynamic-wine dinner on Monday with Loire Valley winemakers Chateau Tour Grise. [Grub Street] West Village: Le Gamin has been rechristened the New French now that one of the owners is out and there’s a new chef and a reworked menu. [Bottomless Dish/Citysearch]

Critics Like Chop Suey Despite Themselves; One Star for Ilili

Frank Bruni awards one star to Ilili, establishing the restaurant’s critical reception as generally admiring but far from ardent. Bruni uses it as an occasion to discourse on the current trend of highlighting previously low-rent genres, but he seems to have liked all the food and not found the prices or noise too distracting. [NYT] Steve Cuozzo wanted to hate Chop Suey, he really did. The name was dumb, and he was skeptical of consulting chef Zak Pelaccio, whose “résumé of short-lived eatery associations … is as long as his list of bona fide accomplishments is short.” But he loved the food and its “bold, explosive” flavors. [NYP] Ryan Sutton also plays the “better than it has any right to be” card with Chop Suey, declaring the place as “jolting, gorgeous, frightening” and reluctantly praising its Korean-themed food. [Bloomberg]

One Star Seals the Deal for Irving Mill; Ilili Surprises in a Good Way

The story on Irving Mill was written before Frank Bruni delivered the coup de grâce — an ambivalent one-star review that pointed out the restaurant's odd inconsistencies. At this point, a one star was probably a best-case scenario for the place. [NYT] Speaking of best-case scenarios, we bet that Gordon Ramsay had higher hopes for Bruni's rereview of his big restaurant than the one that runs in Dining Briefs. Bruni finds Gordon Ramsay at the London still excellent but boring, and Peter Meehan isn't too crazy about Bun. [NYT] We heard that Ilili was a disaster, with bad service and worse food. So did Paul Adams, who was surprised to find that the word on the street was dead wrong. Adams even calls the food was “far, far better than it needs to be.” [NYS]

Gordo Casting Restaurateurs; Thomas Keller Feels for Celebrity Chefs

Gordo’s back on Fox TV for another season of Kitchen Nightmares, and he’s looking for a floundering restaurateur to belittle on national TV. [Eater] It’s hard out there for a chef, according to Thomas Keller: “No longer are critically-acclaimed chefs allowed — as they might have been even ten years ago — to call it a day after opening a single successful restaurant. Instead, he said, food wizards like him are … expected to pen best-sellers, give lectures, judge reality TV shows and host benefits like the one he gave last night.” [NYO] The massive, multistory Pop Burger at 14 East 58th Street will start serving baby crab cakes and grilled filet mignon in addition to burger boxes by mid-November. [Strong Buzz] Related: Massive New Pop Burger Popping Up in Midtown