Tejal Rao at Back Forty West, Robert Sietsema at Mataheko


This past week has been an important one for the food industry. As we work to rebuild Sandy’s lingering devastation, many restaurants have worked tirelessly to save their establishments as well as organize food drives and drop-offs to those who need it most.

Those who eat professionally seem to be on the same page this week. Whether examining a specific locale or a whole neighborhood, the message is clear: Support places you love and explore places that are unfamiliar. Here’s where the critics dined.

Our own Tejal Rao bemoans the “kale exhaustion” felt by many New Yorkers but is pleasantly surprised by the escarole-woven rendition at Peter Hoffman’s Back Forty West. “The leaves are in big pieces, softened on the grill and mixed with escarole. A light dressing and some Parmigiano lend richness, and there are crisp fried capers and crunchy chickpeas scattered about, along with white anchovies. Like much of the food at Back Forty West, the dish is generous and nourishing, and you could eat it pretty often.”

Also at The Voice Robert Sietsema visits “the city’s best Ghanian restaurant,” Mataheko. While the food revolves around your choice of starch, the decor is “like a beloved uncle’s rumpus room, with…monitors showing West African movies, mainly in French, and–miracle of miracles–a red-baize pool table, from which the click of lacquered balls happily resounds.”

At The Times, Pete Wells opted out of an individual review and took a moment to reflect on the importance of supporting all restaurants that have been affected by Sandy. Wells reminds readers to revisit old favorites like Fanelli, as often as they check in to Torrisi and other hotspots.

Like many New Yorkers, Adam Platt ventured uptown last week for his NY Mag review at Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto. This UES outpost of the westside restaurant “features a glimmering display of Parma-cotto products–haunches of prosciutto di Parma, ivory blocks of smoked speck–laid out, like jewelry at Tiffany, in a glass display case up front.”

NY Post’s Steve Cuozzo also ventured East last week to explore the new, uptown Il Mulino. Under impressed, he awards the restaurant one and a half stars, in part due to the clientele made up of “big-bellied guys, tattooed-back females”.

At The New Yorker, Hannah Goldman notes that while South Williamsburg’s Bistro Petit is exactly as its name implies, “Anywhere on the menu is a good place to land,” but particularly good was a special of Beef Bourguignon Korean Style, as it “was comforting enough to evoke anyone’s grandmother, be she French, Korean, or neither: slick-sweet, falling-off-the-bone braised short ribs…sprinkled with freshly grated horseradish.”