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The Other Critics

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Obscure Site Smokes Out Obscure Ethnic Eats: Coincidence?

Checking in on the often impressive Cravings, we came across a particularly useful guide to ethnic eats in New York. There are essays on Bajan, Bosnian, Turkish, Filipino, Uighur, and Polish food, each mentioning one or two restaurants that have, for the most part, flown under the foodie radar. We learned about the potato burek rolls at Djerdan and Flying Fish Cutters at Culpepper's (1082 Nostrand Ave., at Lincoln Rd., Prospect Heights, Brooklyn; 718-940-4122.) Then we browsed their lovingly written food listings and got hungry all over again. Ethnic Eats [Cravings]

Bruni Comments on Nice Buns; Dirty Bird for Crazies?

This week the fork-and-penners visited four joints where the primo grub made up for the less-than-stellar service and atmosphere. • Bruni doles out judicious three stars to Joël Robuchon, noting that the chef's foie gras–and–Kobe beef slider ("the haute burger of the new millennium") has nice buns. [NYT] • Meanwhile, Bruni's colleague Peter Meehan thinks he's discovered "the city's best new hamburger" at Royale, a nondescript bar on Avenue C. [NYT] • After some throat-clearing that involves the mention of "a sex act you don't want to know about," Lauren Collins states in no uncertain terms that "you'd be crazy to want to eat" at Dirty Bird. But you should definitely get a mess of the spicy, succulent legs delivered. [NYer] • Andrea Strong misses the "amazing haze of really good energy" at the old, smallish Tasting Room but finds redemption in "a creamy haze" of sweet potatoes. [Strong Buzz]

Bruni and Richman Beat Down Old-Timers

This week, the big boys decided to tip some sacred cows. • Alan Richman, battling Peter Luger, delivers what might be the most damning takedown of a major New York restaurant since his famous indictment of Jean Georges in GQ. Sundry are the crimes of this tavern: It has "lost touch with the concept of restaurant hospitality"; deploys cheap flatware and snarling waiters; serves inconsistent steak, mundane sides, and a "hostile burger." [Bloomberg]

Chef Goes From ‘Gag’ to Great

This week, the food scribes turned in more raves than rants. Naturally, we lead with a rant. • Frank Bruni, bucking the beau monde and betting odds, comes down with both feet on Freemans, the hipster hideaway beloved by downtown boulevardiers. (NYT)