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Zenkichi

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Bar Blanc Draws Its Deuce; Mia Dona Welcomed by Richman

Frank Bruni finds Bar Blanc fussy, mannered, overly fastidious — and very, very good. The two stars should take the sting out of his review for the place's owners. [NYT] Related: Raising the Bar Restaurant Girl hits Williamsburg’s Zenkichi and, between the room, the food, and the sake selection, seems to have a real find on her hands. [NYDN] Randall Lane joins in the general enthusiasm for Dovetail , but now he seems unwilling to go back to his five-star-granting ways and so ends up giving them only four — the equivalent, in traditional star terms, to a two-star review, which is not what this reads as. [TONY]

Another ‘Izakaya,’ to Our Chicken Heart's Delight

Following the lead of newcomers Izakaya Ten and Zenkichi, the once-formal Takayama has reinvented itself as Ariyoshi, an izakaya with a sushi bar boasting a lengthy menu of tempura, yakitori, noodles, and assorted plates like veal-liver sashimi. Though sake barrels and light boxes decorated with bamboo give the narrow, high-ceilinged space a serene vibe a world away from the noisy Japanese St. Marks dives (there’s also a small private room in the back), the prices are reasonable: $2 for two gelatinous hunks of beef tendon in a stock of octopus, egg, radish, and tofu (there are ten other varieties of oden stew, too), and $2 for a skewer of salted chicken hearts. The toro tartar, one of the priciest dishes at $13, is a tuna portion large enough to feed two, topped by a quail egg sitting in a nest of flying-fish eggs. They're not serving cod sperm yet, but the manager says he’s considering it. —Daniel Maurer Ariyoshi, 806 Broadway, nr. 12th St., 212-388-1884.

A Japanese Gastropub and Other Openings; KFC's New Recipe Tastes Like Chicken

• More on "Japanese gastropub" Zenkichi, Lower East Side brick-oven pizzeria Cronkite, and others; Antoine Bouterin packs it in. [NYT] • Taste-testers prefer trans-fat-free KFC. [NYDN] • Cuozzo presses Michael Lomonaco for 9/11 memories, likes the drapes at his new place. [NYP] • Guss's in a legal pickle. [NYP] • Patsy's, too, fights for its name. [NYS] • Park Slope sandwich and gelato spot Tempo Presto's latest locale. [NYS] • Vendy victor is doing brisk business. [NYDN] • Emily Sprissler blows the whistle on "rat-trap" conditions (and Padma's cellulite) on the "Top Chef" set. [Chow]