This week in the Voice, Robert Sietsema enjoys the “foodstuff that fueled Portuguese expansionism in the 16th century”: bacalhau at O Lavrador; while Sarah DiGregorio samples the “mother of all baked potatoes, the kumpir” at Istanbul Café.
Sam Sifton finds the food at Faustina “mostly excellent, [but] the menu prolongs the maddening trend of shareable plates that crowd the table with disparate flavors while simultaneously enlarging the check and rendering the meal confusing.”
Meanwhile, Ryan Sutton reckons that Faustina is trying to “expand the horizons of traditional cuisine. After all, if American joints can serve pastas, why can’t osterias serve burgers? Call it Bowery Italian.”
Jay Cheshes also files on Faustina, where “the portion sizes were all over the map –smaller than entrées, larger than tapas, built for three, built for one — and neither the price, the waitstaff, nor the dish’s place on the menu helped much.”
Adam Platt has meals at Bistro de la Gare, where “the dishes on the entrée list are fairly ambitious for a fifteen-table joint, and the best of them tend to be more Italian than French,” and at Benoit, where a new chef has “revamped and expanded the classic brasserie menu, instilling it with some much-needed professional zip.”
Steve Couzzo “had some marvelous dishes, especially on the tasting menu, and several ‘Omigod’ moments” at Colicchio & Sons, but feels that “high-priced restaurants are obliged to respect certain time-honored rules. The first is that all items be cooked correctly.”
Gael Greene notes that the pizza at Pulino’s is “not pretending to be Neapolitan though it’s oddly shaped and bubbled up in the Naples way. It’s thin-crusted and crisp, tantalizingly just a bit scorched.”
Alan Richman isn’t sure about Despaña: “Not all of the cooking is perfect, nor am I a devotee of every one of the combinations offered here — some are downright odd to the American palate. In fact, I have decidedly mixed feelings about traditional Spanish food.”
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