Unavoidable and Tasty Rye Bread at Aamanns-Copenhagen; All About Love for Hanjan
Our own Robert Sietsema finds himself in a sea of small, Danish plates at Aamanns-Copenhagen. The restaurant that once opened for a single day to celebrate the New York arrival of Crown Prince Frederik and Princess Mary of Denmark has now officially started service in the same Tribeca location. Specializing in smørrebrød (that's Danish for "bread and butter"), Aaamanns puts out plate after plate of "Scandinavian tapas." Sietsema writes, "Standard toppings include pickled fish, chicken salad, and thin slices of roast meat, but Aamanns embroiders on a beloved Danish tradition by mixing startling ingredients with traditional ones." The bites are "stunning" but small, so hungry diners should not expect a royal feast.
At the Times, Pete Wells explores similar New Nordic territory at Aska in Williamsburg. Wells notes that the new Scandinavian restaurant in Kinfolk Studio offers more surprises -- both in decor and cuisine -- than one might anticipate. At Aska, he writes, "a common ingredient is made unfamiliar, a transformation the kitchen pulls off again and again. The paper-white ovals shaved over braised pork and ultrasmooth applesauce: sunchokes. A chewy amber sheet that tastes like candy from the ocean: a dried and toasted scallop chip." The restaurant appears to be equal parts art space and dining experience. Wells awards it two stars.
The Underground Gourmet, a.k.a. Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite, step in for Adam Platt at NY Mag this week. The duo sample the "Mexican-ish" tacos and tortas at Salvation Taco in the Pod Hotel. The Midtown East spot follows a formula similar to the one that brought owners April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman success at other outlets: Serve inventive albeit slightly inauthentic cuisine that is meant for shared "gobbling" and lots of napkins. "If there's a criticism to make about the grub at Salvation Taco, it's that there's not a lot of it," R.R. and R.P. write. So bring friends but not a grand appetite.
In case you hadn't heard, Korean food has been "steadily building steam over the past few years," and the city's best K-town outlets offer much more than fried chicken. Time Out's Jay Cheshes heads to Hanjan to explore the "soulful endeavor" from chef/owner Hooni Kim, who also runs the intensely popular Danji. Kim's food is steeped in tradition but benefits from modern flourishes. Particularly tasty are the "braised boneless pig's feet," a dish "so popular in Seoul that there are entire restaurants devoted to them. Kim's 'modern' spin--steeped in star anise, cinnamon, ginger and rice wine--is less gelatinous than usual, the long-simmered swine served in beautifully supple and aromatic slices." This is "robust and restorative cooking," and Cheshes gives it four stars.
Need more convincing that Korean cuisine is having a moment? Ryan Sutton also reviews Hanjan, and deems it an ideal and unassuming spot for Valentine's Day. The Bloomberg critic suggests that lovebirds order the bloody chicken hearts, a dish that embodies "the silkiness of filet mignon, the beefiness of a skirt steak and the gentle tang of good liver. They're skewered, like Cupid's arrows." Perhaps the restaurant could be equally suited to couples who are on the brink of a breakup.
The NY Post's Steve Cuozzo has a revelation after eating 'shrooms. The critic declares that the hen-of-the-woods-based plate from The Marrow is "the city's best new dish." The restaurant, owned by former Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle, is a "winning take on modern German and Italian" culinary styles. Carnivores shouldn't worry, as the superb vegetarian offerings yield to heartier plates like "dreamy duck liverwurst" and "velvety braised rabbit."
Dining at many of the city's oldest steakhouses can become a "Faustian bargain," suggests NY Daily News critic Stan Sanger. "Customers willingly subject themselves to gruff, often indifferent service and eye-popping bills, but in exchange for coma-inducing portions of mouth-watering beef and its heart-clogging accompaniments." Sanger finds that service at the Old Homestead follows suit, but the food does not deliver. The chops are "cartoonishly" large and "aggressively" seasoned." Sanger notes that "You might be able dine on [your steak] for a week, but who would want to?"
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