Japanese Fast Food on Madison Avenue and Dreamy Gnocchi at L’Apicio


This week, Tejal Rao tries the pasta and polenta boards at L’Apicio, the new “glassy cathedral” on the Bowery from partners Gabe Thompson and Joe Campanale, where Rao says if you added a parking lot “it could be that one restaurant in every American town where the people with money come.” While she finds that the kitchen “tends towards overseasoning,” it also creates “esoteric pastas in unexpected applications” which are “perhaps the most successful and refined dishes on the menu.”

Our own Robert Sietsema explores the neighborhood around Madison Avenue and 41st Street, now specializing in Japanese fast food. He recommends venturing to the uptown location of Sunrise Mart for their rendition of “okonomiyaki–the gut-busting, mayo-squiggled pancake… stuffed with pork, shrimp, cabbage, and grated yam ($7.50).” Sietsema also snacks his way through Mai Cuisine and Cafe Zaiya.

NY Times critic Pete Wells has been actively covering the impact that Hurricane Sandy has left on the restaurant industry. This week, he heads down to Chinatown’s Royal Seafood Restaurant, and finds that “everybody was having lobster.” He awards the restaurant one star.

Adam Platt, at NY Mag, visits the modern, Midtown palace Sirio Ristorante, the latest venture from Le Cirque’s Sirio Maccioni. And, while the clientele is dressed to the nines, Platt argues that “the best things at Sirio are the more unadorned traditional dishes.” He also slices his way through Strip House Midtown, the latest outpost of the West Village restaurant. Platt is mixed on the food, but certain that the “menu is priced for the midtown expense account.” Both restaurants receive one star.

At the Post, Steve Cuozzo joins the “party scene” at El Toro Blanco, the inauthentic Mexican restaurant in the West Village. And while some might need earplugs to make it through an entire meal, Cuozzo suggests trying the “guacamole served with toasty-crisp chips” as it is “the spiciest [he’s] had in ages.

Bloomberg’s Ryan Sutton burned some cash at Blanca, the epic Bushwick offshoot of Roberta’s. The 25-course meal is built for those seeking a culinary adventure, as long as they’ve got the time. Sutton writes, “There’s no printed menu, and the bread course is timed to arrive around the 90-minute mark of a 3-hour grand tour through chef Carlo Mirarchi’s prodigious culinary repertoire.” He gives the restaurant four stars.

Jay Cheshes, at Time Out, visits the revamped “former den of New York iniquity,” The Beatrice Inn. But the party people have long since left and the reincarnated remains come together as a food establishment rather than a nightclub. But you’re there to bask in tarnished glamour, not to eat. Cheshes says, “the monochromatic fare is so tame you might call it postfoodie, and you might wonder if there’s a secret menu somewhere that plebeian diners don’t receive.”

Hannah Goldfield, at The New Yorker, visits Allswell, the Williamsburg gastropub from former Spotted Pig owner Nate Smith. She finds the food more delicate than the average “shire-in-style” bar. Goldfield writes, “A thin slab of gelatinous pork terrine, as beautifully translucent as stained glass, was served with a bright salad of crunchy celery, currants, and parsley; oysters, splashed with cream and prosecco, were flash-baked to an almost glittery sheen.”