This week in the Voice, Robert Sietsema checks out the latest addition to New York’s tapashere: Caliu. Lauren Shockey gets past the unfortunate name of Michael Psilakis’s new restaurant, FishTag, and proceeds to have a nice meal.
Sam Sifton awards two stars to Ciano, citing “[Shea] Gallante’s food, which is ambitious, beautiful and flavor packed, a kind of Italian home cooking made grand and attractive, rich as Berlusconi, not as oily. It is less precious, less purposefully fancy, less aggressively upscale than what he was putting forth at Cru, where he cooked until 2009 and which closed last year. … He isn’t trying so hard. And Ciano is exciting for that.”
Steve Cuozzo approves of Lotus of Siam, where he has “the best Thai dishes I’ve ever had in New York. Electrifyingly spiced and boasting quality raw materials rarely seen in local Southeast Asian restaurants, they lived up to their promise as spawn of chef Saipin Chutima’s Las Vegas original, which some call the best Thai eatery in North America.”
Adam Platt is even more enthusiastic about Lotus of Siam: “There are also nine generally impeccable appetizers to choose from, plus ten entrées, and a whole barrage of faithfully reconstructed stir-fries and noodles, including a version of pad Thai ($14) so ethereally sweet and eggy that I ordered it twice.”
Ryan Sutton enjoys the John Dory: “[April] Bloomfield could easily have drawn a packed house with fried calamari, lobster rolls and burgers. Instead she challenges the senses with idiosyncratic, ingenious dishes that disregard borders. … Here, fish tastes like fish.”
Jay Cheshes also endorses the John Dory: “Despite the scaled-back ambitions, the food overall remains as intensely flavored as it was at the old place — Bloomfield doesn’t do subtle.”
Metromix raves over the food at Caliu, but finds the setting lacking: “There’s some really distinguished cooking going on at Caliu. … Too bad the restaurant’s inelegant space knocks down the experience a bit. Dishes this good, and a chef this talented, deserve a better stage.”
Gael Greene finds hits and misses at Ai Fiori, where the room is nearly empty: “Word has gotten around Ai Fiori is expensive, starters $14 to $24, entrées $29 to $46. Could that be why? We may be on Fifth Avenue but this is 36th Street.”