Sam Sifton discovers the reason Brooklyn Heightians are staying close to home these days, awarding Colonie one star: “Long and lean beneath a rough-finished wooden ceiling, with a handsome bar in front and a large wall garden of herbs leading to a sepia-toned brick-walled dining room and open kitchen in back, it serves a mostly solid farm-to-table menu of haute American food to a building crowd.”
Steve Cuozzo tepidly approves of David Burke Kitchen (“the menu’s a direct transplant of his well-established uptown ones, and the dining room looks and feels like the hotel basement it is. … Yet the food’s mostly fine — erratic, but often enough splendid”). He also endorses Ditch Plains on the Upper West Side (“not about a fancy concept, but about value for money”).
Adam Platt is thoroughly unimpressed with Spasso: “You will find many of the totems of the nouveau-rustico movement on display. … Not that many of the diners at Spasso seemed to notice these transgressions. On the contrary, the little room was overrun, on the evenings I visited, with the kind of people (Village locals, Euro snobs, assorted downtown poseurs) who used to haunt the latest, trendy neighborhood French brasseries, when those restaurants were in vogue, at the tail end of the past millennium.”
Ryan Sutton has some love for Brooklyn Star: “Credit [Joaquin] Baca, an ex-partner in the Momofuku empire, as a pioneer of lardcore, the movement that matches comfort food (and sometimes junk food) with the Blue Hill approach to seasonal, sustainable, ZIP-codable everything. How else to describe a chef who glazes Niman Ranch pork with Dr Pepper?”
Jay Cheshes finds missteps at the Astor Room: “[W]hile New York diners are suckers for a time warp, the restaurant’s manufactured nostalgia never quite transports. … The ceiling is particleboard, TVs flash stills of silent-film stars and the Continental cooking is solid but soulless. … There are some real talents behind the scenes: former Waldorf-Astoria chef John Doherty consulting on food, mixology team Jim Kearns and Lynnette Marrero of Freemans and Peels advising on drinks. And while the latter duo’s skill comes through in the glass, the food is drab and uneven.”
Tables for Two ventures out to M. Wells: “The menu at this gussied-up Queens diner reads like a drawn-out dare, and sometimes verges on the grotesque. … The otherworldliness of the scene serves only to heighten the bizarre juxtapositions on the table.”
The Metromix editors can’t vouch for Cantina Royale: “A middling entry into the Williamsburg Mex scene. … even if you lived in the nabe, there are better Mexican options.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 4, 2011