Robert Sietsema at Chao Thai Too; Tejal Rao at Sel et Gras


Robert Sietsema is at Chao Thai Too, maybe one of the best Thai places in the city. He notes that they serve blood Jell-O “interspersed with pork meatballs, and crispy stir-fried frog legs flavored with basil (pad kra prao kob). Gnaw on these, and you might never go back to chicken wings.”

Tejal Rao is over at Sel et Gras in the West Village. It’s French food in a restaurant whose theme is the French revolution: “If you really want to eat like a king, order french fries with your snails and dip the crisp, Parmesan-dusted potatoes into pools of hot, garlicky butter.”

Adam Platt is at Ootoya, the Japanese-import with affordable alternatives to sushi: “If you’re in a large, ravenous group, you can supplement these bite-size dishes with fried beef and potato croquettes the size of cricket balls, and a bountiful selection of rice bowls smothered with toppings like fried pork and eggs (katsu don), ground chicken (oyako don), or slivers of sashimi mixed with avocado, okra, and fermented soy beans (the enticingly gooey hanabi don).”

Pete Wells gives two stars to Blanca in Bushwick, where it’s really difficult to snag a seat: “Because Blanca is a very good and deeply enjoyable restaurant, one where the abundance of courses is Roman, the structure of the meal is Italian, the rigorous minimalism of the cooking is Japanese and the easy and improbable grace with which it all hangs together is unmistakably American.”

Jay Cheshes is at Dassara, a Japanese ramen joint in Brooklyn: “The ramen, meanwhile, is unlike any you’ll find at the city’s hot Tokyo imports. The most classic version begins with a robust shio (“salt”) broth–a beautifully viscous chicken-based soup thickened with potatoes and sushi rice.”

The New Yorker is at Swine this week and notes that bacon is the new black: “Carnivores who eat with their hands might go for the bone-marrow-and-brisket burger with melted Gruyère. But you can’t forego utensils when it comes to dessert–that bacon sundae requires a spoon.”

Steve Cuozzo checks out Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto, an Italian eatery on Madison Avenue: “The menu breaks no new ground but works the known earth/territory well. Acqua pazza came alive with John Dory and light broth humming a ginger-and-thyme tune.”

Stan Stagner is at Miss Lily’s, a West Village Jamaican hotspot: “For the most part, the main dishes were even more institutional. The Jerk Chicken ($19) was well-cooked but disappointingly listless, thanks to its timid seasoning. Where on earth was the jerk?”