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Nono Kitchen

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Ssäm Bar Vindicated; Haute Cuisine Gets No Love

Momofuku Ssäm Bar wins two stars (!) from Bruni and completes a success story that seemed pretty unlikely a few months ago, when the place was selling Asian burritos to a handful of customers. The review is also a watershed in the changing culture of restaurants: Formal is now officially out, casual now officially legit. [NYT] Related: The I Chang [NYM] Meanwhile, Randall Lane is a lone dissenter, calling out Ssäm Bar for its unevenness, lack of focus, and the steep prices of some of its main dishes. On the whole, though, he seems to have missed the point — David Chang's loose, unfettered approach to good cooking. [TONY] Steve Cuozzo joins in the chorus of approval greeting Wayne Nish’s transformation of the stuffy March into the swinging, fusion-y Nish. The message: Remain formal at your own peril. (See reviews of Dennis Foy and Gordon Ramsay.) [NYP] Related: Bedeviled [NYM]

More Reasons for Ramsay to Worry; Could Use Some ‘Time Out’ Love

Frank Bruni wants to dislike Mai House but just can’t quite bring himself to do it. [NYT] Meehan has no reason to like Pardo’s … so he doesn’t. [NYT] Paul Adams tepid on Gordon Ramsay, citing his “great competence and little sparkle.” [NYS] Alan Richman awards Ramsay one big “ouch”; he’s reminded of “the French-international cuisine that British chefs turn out whenever they ply their trade aboard cruise ships.” [Bloomberg] Klee Brasserie apparently finds its way into Randall Lane’s heart, though thoughts like “it’s a bit of a mishmash, but a good mishmash” don’t fully convey the apparent chemistry they share. What with all the positive mini-reviews of Café Pierre, Guadalupe, and Benjamin Steak House, it’s a veritable lovefest over at Time Out. [TONY] Brooklyn spot NoNO Kitchen charms Andrea Thompson, who rather drily observes that it’s “quite good, if not exactly phenomenal.” [NYer]

New Orleans, New York, New Restaurant

New Orleans, New York: They both start with the word "new." But recently, there seems to an even greater affinity between the cities. Earlier this week, we mentioned the (now booked) Southern Foodways Alliance party happening Thursday night at 5 Ninth, where N.O. chefs will team up with our own Zak Pelaccio for a free-that's-right-free culinary blowout. Last night, meanwhile, Brooklyn welcomed a new Louisiana-themed restaurant, NoNO Kitchen, to Park Slope. Greg Tatis, a veteran of Paul Prudhomme's kitchen, opened the place just blocks down from the N.O.-themed Two Boots on Seventh Avenue — close enough for the untethered tots that crowd the latter to wander on down and check out former before their parents even look up from their bloody Marys. But we digress. NoNo will serve a limited menu until Monday, when they roll out the gumbo, jambalaya, étouffée, and other bayou standards. NoNO Kitchen, 293 Seventh Ave., nr. 7th St.; 718-369-8348