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Ryan Sutton

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Bruni Closes the Book on Tailor; Allen & Delancey Gets Good, Not Great, Notices

Bruni waited to be the last one to pronounce on Tailor, and his review pretty much recapitulates, albeit in wittier prose and with some much-appreciated Grub Street love, what everyone else has said: erratic brilliance, wee portions, and a killer cocktail program. The result: one star. [NYT] Allen & Delancey keeps impressing the critics, at least with chef Neil Ferguson's meat mastery. His fish, though, is strictly from hunger, according to Restaurant Girl. [NYDN] Randall Lane offers one of his most thoughtful and precise reviews of Allen & Delancey, finding fault only in flavor balances and the fact that the place has to close up at midnight. [TONY]

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Cipriani Charged With ‘Highway Robbery’; Market Table Gets a Big Kiss From RG

Frank Bruni pens one of his best zero-star reviews ever in putting down Harry Cipriani, hard: “The crime that comes to mind first when I think of the Ciprianis is highway robbery. Based on my recent experience, that’s what happens almost any time Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue serves lunch or dinner.” Brillo-like potatoes? $23 for asparagus? Bruni makes 'em pay. [NYT] Market Table gets two and a half stars from Restaurant Girl, who praises the solid American cooking and buys into the overall concept. We wondered if MT wouldn't be the restaurant that absorbed the Haute Barnyard backlash, but it seems to have dodged it so far. [NYDN] Paul Adams hits Tailor and delivers the most intelligently rendered version of what seems to be the verdict on the place: The food is brilliant but spotty, and the drinks are great. [NYS]

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A Star Swap for Alto & L’Impero; No Amore for Richman at Fiamma

The Times’ verdict is in on Alto and L’Impero, and it’s the expected three and two stars, respectively. Lost in the Alto upgrade is the hard fact that L’Impero now enters the dreaded two-star limbo into which Frank Bruni puts any place neither transcendent nor mediocre. Personally, we would have had it at four and three. [NYT] Alan Richman admires the new Fiamma (former home to Mike White) in a cool and distant way, finding the food busy and not at all Italian, although not exactly lousy by any means. No one will read this review and want to spend money to eat at Fiamma. [Bloomberg] On the other hand, Restaurant Girl’s three-star review reads like a perfume ad, it’s so loving: “Like an artist, he paints deeply flavored ragu onto a pappardelle canvas, finished with tender ribbons of venison.” Ew! But Steve Hanson must be happy. [NYDN]

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One Star and Thirteen Recommended Dishes for Centro Vinoteca; BLT Market Takes Its Lumps

Another somewhat capricious Frank Bruni review: He gives Centro Vinoteca one star, praising nearly everything he ate (there are thirteen recommended dishes) but complaining about the noise and crowds on the first floor and presumably on that basis withholding a second star. [NYT] Danyelle Freeman is so not impressed with BLT Market. According to her, the ingredients themselves aren’t even that good! But she likes the place enough to give it two stars anyway. [NYDN] The usually harder-to-please Alan Richman, on the other hand, had a much higher estimation of the place, except for the part about it smelling like shit. But that, he hopes, will pass with the warm weather. [Bloomberg]

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Gemma Rewarded for Its Calculations; Tailor Makes a Fan

Frank Bruni, surprisingly grants Gemma a single star. Bruni sees the place as a slicker, less technically accomplished Morandi — an insta-enoteca calculated to the nth degree to please modern middlebrows. Which, we guess, is worth a single star these days. [NYT] Ryan Sutton is, as usual, the first to review Tailor, which he finds a molecular wonderland of trippy but delicious foods: exactly what a certain kind of restaurantgoer needs to hear to get the buzz going. [Bloomberg] Moira Hodgson thinks that Alex Ureña's new direction at Pamplona — modern, imaginative Spanish cookery minus the bells and whistles — is exactly what he needed and rewards him with two stars. “So this is bistro food? I don’t care what he calls it, it’s great.” [NYO]

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Franny’s Gets the All-Purpose Two Stars; Southern Hospitality Praised for Its BBQ

Franny’s is the recipient of one of Frank Bruni’s periodic low-end caprices, and gets awarded an absurd two stars as a result. [NYT] Paul Lukas, a pretty serious student of barbecue, delivers the verdict on the new barbecues, and the surprise is that Southern Hospitality has some pretty damn good Memphis ribs. Hill Country, it goes without saying, gets lauded as the best BBQ in town. [NYS] Related: Insatiable Critic: Southern Hospitality “Rivulets of delicious grease are a common theme” is the key note to Paul Adams's review of Borough Food and Drink. Mmmm…grease…. [NYS]

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Monkey Bar Gets Hit; Three Stars for Café Boulud

Paul Adams liked some things about Monkey Bar, but it’s never a good sign if you hire a famous Chinese chef (Patricia Yeo) and the review includes the words “My neighborhood Chinese takeout does better dumplings.” [NYS] Café Boulud, in an important rereview, gets three stars — enough to add momentum to Daniel Boulud’s empire building. [NYT] Insieme looks dull, observes Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, but “profligate flavor and spirited service” show themselves once the food starts coming. [NYer]

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P*ONG Found to Be Small and Uneven; Monkey Bar Gets Hammered

Frank Bruni appreciates Pichet Ong’s skill and creativity but finds his restaurant, P*ONG, in what will probably be a defining review, unequal to his talent: “Mr. Ong is an enterprising cook, but he doesn’t seem to be a seasoned restaurateur, and P*ong points out the difference.” [NYT] Similarly, Paul Adams grants that FR.OG chef Didier Virot has “has a virtuosic ability with flavors,” but was less than thrilled with the restaurant. That’s about in keeping with most other reviews the place has had, which call out a few dishes but give it an “eh” otherwise. [NYS] Randall Lane disliked the Monkey Bar so much that it’s amazing that he gave it two stars (out of six). “More often, though, the dishes were so unsuccessful that I had difficulty finishing them.” Eek. Not what you want to hear after a huge, expensive relaunch.[TONY]

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Landmarc Steals More Stars; Mercat Earns First Kudos

Frank Bruni inexplicably grants a star to a restaurant with zero ambience, overdone pastas, “tame entrées,” and a “loud” room that’s “dreary at night.” Which is what Adam Platt and everybody else said about Landmarc TWC, though without granting a star for the accomplishment. [NYT] Related: Off the Mark [NYM] Landmarc somehow coaxed three of six stars out of Randall Lane, despite comparable comments on uneven food and a room filled with rebars. The wine list seems to have been the saving grace. [TONY] Mobbed Mercat gets the Paul Adams seal of approval, its first major positive review, which compares it favorably to Boqueria and praises it for special authenticity. Only the desserts are denied praise, and at that point in the review, it hardly matters. [NYS]

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Insieme Lauded (Except for Lasagne); Landmarc Squeaks By

The Times finds Provence beautiful, romantic, and well-intentioned, but barely worthy of a single star. A major disappointment for the Marc Meyer/Vicki Freeman team, who had been on a roll with Five Points and Cookshop. [NYT] In the Post, Steve Cuozzo — judiciously taking the long-term view as usual — makes the case that Amalia, FR.OG, and Insieme, “the best new Italian restaurant since L’Impero,” have overcome weak starts to become some of the city’s strongest places. [NYP] Paul Adams gives yet another admiring review to Insieme, though he found the much-praised lasagne underflavored and disappointing. His favorite dish: a chamomile farfalle. [NYS]

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Gramercy Keeps Its Third Star; Randall Lane Trips But Likes Insieme Anyway

Frank Bruni joins Adam Platt in giving Gramercy Tavern three stars, validating the efforts of new chef Michael Anthony and the usual Danny Meyer service level. [NYT] Related: Gramercy Rehab [NYM] Time Out’s Randall Lane likes Insieme a lot, to the tune of four (out of six) stars. Though he praises the food as most reviewers have, he also agrees with them that although it was beautifully executed, it didn’t make him swoon. Also, he tripped on the step coming in. [TONY] The Sun’s Paul Adams comes down on Landmarc, “less a dining destination and more a hearty refueling station for ravenous shoppers and tourists.” But it’s affordable and competent, and what else do you want in a mall restaurant? [NYS] Related: Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors? [Grub Street]

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Wild Salmon Starts Its Upstream Journey Strongly; Craftsteak Upgraded

Alan Richman has a few qualms about Wild Salmon – its reason for being, for example – but likes both the food (except for the sauces) and the service (when it’s not too friendly). Given how ready Richman is to knock restaurants, owner Jeffrey Chodorow has to feel pretty good about this one. [Bloomberg] Related: Wild Salmon Swims Into View. Yes, ‘Pun Intended’ [Grub Street] The newly revamped Craftsteak and Craftbar get rereviewed by Bruni, who awards the less than the white-hot former a much-needed second star, and the latter, “more or less back on track” after earlier troubles, a (borderline) single star. [NYT] Time Out’s Randall Lane lays four stars (out of six) on Gilt, finding Chris Lee’s cooking admirable all around, if less risky than that of his predecessor, Paul Liebrandt, who still keeps popping up whenever the restaurant is discussed. [TONY] Related: Gramercy Rehab [NYM]

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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]

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Love and Hate for the Inn LW12; Esca Pulls Even With Babbo

The Sun’s Paul Adams considers the Inn LW12 an out-and-out Canadian restaurant, to a greater extent than anyone else has, and praises the poutine, a Québécois version of disco fries, along with the rest of the menu. [NYS] Poutine aside, Randall Lane thinks the Inn LW12 is a snobby “poseur sanctuary” still carrying the taint of Lotus, owner Jeffrey Jah’s other place. [TONY] Esca gets a third star from the Times, moving it even with Babbo, and reminding everybody that David Pasternack is not just Mario’s fish guy, but one of the city’s great chefs. [Esca]

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Morandi Takes Another Hit; a Haute Barnyard Spree

The Four Seasons gets perhaps the most negative two-star review in the history of the Times; Bruni seems to think the stars were grandfathered in. A telling example of how reputation floats reviews. [NYT] Meehan, meanwhile, visits a chowhound's paradise, a Hindu temple in Flushing. [NYT] Morandi takes another blow, this time from Time Out’s Randall Lane, who like our own Adam Platt, finds it overdesigned and unimpressive, albeit with a few decent dishes. [TONY] Related: Not So Bene [NYM]

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‘New Yorker’ Backs Up the Chowhounds; Sietsema Uncovers a Food Court’s Secrets

The New Yorker discovers Sripraphai, and though baffled by its vast and uneven menu, admits that the chowhounds were right to glorify the place. [NYer] Sietsema provides his readers with a major service this week, guiding them through one of the city’s best and most baffling food courts in the Flushing’s J&L Mall [VV] Rosanjin gets the two-star Bruni treatment in its first review, and seems to only have missed a third star by reason of anticlimactic later courses. Still, an auspicious start. [NYT]

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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]

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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

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Critics Keep Up the Steakhouse Shuffle; Ramsay Reviewed

Ramsay strikes a chord with Ryan Sutton: "This is artful food that makes you ponder the meaning of life, but it's also accessible, gutsy fare that excites the senses and fills the tummy." [Bloomberg] Bruni does the ever popular steak two-fer (witness Platt's double-up on STK and Lonesome Dove), declares Porter House New York "an M.B.A. program for beef eaters who did undergraduate work at Outback," turning out "well-sourced, well-prepared flesh" though getting into trouble elsewhere. Despite the limo-like seats, he's not grooving to the beat (or the meat) at the other spot: "STK might want to think about buying some soundproofing, along with a vowel." [NYT] Richman isn't convinced Porter House New York is a steakhouse, or at least as good of one as its predecessor V. Instead it's "an accessible, sensible eating establishment with decent prices and classy, comprehensible food." [Bloomberg]

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