Robert Sietsema at Sao Mai; Tejal Rao at Prima


See what NYC’s restaurant critics have been up to this week:

Robert Sietsema thinks Sao Mai might be New York’s best Vietnamese restaurant: “Situated on First Avenue in the East Village, Sao Mai (“Morning Star”) was the subject of a partial review by Lauren Shockey in the Voice last February. But over several visits in the past few months, I’ve become convinced it might be the best Vietnamese restaurant in town. The room is deep, with seating in several isolated area.”

Tejal Rao opts for seafood this week and writes up a review for Prima: “But the inflexible seafood lover will find his bliss with the dinner entrées: skate, snapper, Arctic char, daurade, all served huge, hot, with a crisp and beautiful skin that has been washed over with bonito butter, the meat finished in the oven for not a moment too long ($15 to $22).”

Pete Wells for the New York Times reviews Back Forty West, an East Village joint for “grass-fed burgers, sustainably raised pork shanks and vegetables straight off the back of a farm truck.”

Ryan Sutton
for Bloomberg tries out Russian this week at Brasserie Pushkin: “Pushkin’s black sturgeon caviar is listed at $135.”

Adam Platt is really unimpressed by Hakkasan and gave it no stars: “But be warned: At least one of the snarky New Yorkers at my table thought that the iridescently green green-apple sorbet accompanying it tasted faintly ‘like chemicals.'”

The New Yorker hits up Gwynnett Street for “food that’s meant to challenge you.”