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Oriental Spoon

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Oriental Spoon Gives Up on Tapas, Relaunches As Japanese Pasta House

No sooner had we begun to understand Oriental Spoon, the Pan-Asian tapas restaurant hidden away in the rear of Ramen Setagaya than it had changed again. Welcome, Pasta Wafu! The newest incarnation of the space specializes in “Japanese-style pasta,” says manager Charlie Huh. Think of flying fish roe in a cream sauce with penne or linguine with sea urchin and “homemade oil sauce.” But if you’re not into Italianate fusion, there’s also a full sushi bar. But be daring, says Huh. “This is top-notch food, and it’s very affordable! It’s not just for Japanese people.” We’ll settle for just not having to stand in the Setagaya line. Related: New East Village Ramen Spot Insists It’s More Authentic Than Momofuku

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Bruni Finds Bar Stuzzichini Good Enough; Sietsema Worships Insieme

Frank Bruni gives Bar Stuzzichini one star, praising its small plates (which give him his obligatory Zeitgeist paragraphs at the top) and then pointing out that the room and service are basically that of a “midtown mess hall.” The moral? Aim low, price right, and execute, and the critics will give you the guarded praise you need to stay open. [NYT] Here's one we never would have predicted in a million years: Insieme getting the panegyric it deserves from Robert “horsehead soup in the Bronx” Sietsema. Interestingly, the one thing he didn't like was the lasagne, which was the place's proudest boast when it first opened. [VV] We predicted recently that it was just a matter of time before someone came down on Wakiya, but we never dreamed it would be Danyelle Freeman. She hits the place hard, mostly for the “dull” and “skimpy” food but, not a killer at heart, gives them credit for service, cocktails, and soup dumplings. But it won't be long before another, meaner critic really lets it fly. [NYND]

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