This week, Tejal Rao checks in at a “spot of warmth” on the otherwise gloomy Wilson Avenue, Dear Bushwick. Having previously honed her skills at Goat Town, chef Jessica Wilson offers “English-inspired dishes with American ingredients” and assures us that “this is the sort of simple, seasonal food that might change your mind about contemporary English cooking.” The meal combined with “dance-band songs” ringing in the background can lend a “Singing Detective edge” to the evening.
Our Robert Sietsema visits Chifa Restaurant, the Peruvian-Chinese hybrid establishment in Jackson Heights. At times, “the food is as salty as an immigrant’s tears,” but it is still made with affection. “The best productions of the chifa here involve an all-hands-on-deck approach, demonstrating a certain generosity of spirit on the part of the cook, but also a total indifference to nuance. When a tallarin is in the offing, the door of the pantry flies open.”
At the Times, Pete Wells ushers in the new year (and the end of his first as the paper’s critic) by announcing his twelve best restaurants of 2012. Don’t expect any dark horses to triumph this late in the game. His choices include The NoMad, Blanca, Pok Pok Ny, and Mission Chinese, among others.
The Post’s Steve Cuozzo also writes a round-up of sorts, by suggesting worthwhile dining layovers for Fifth Avenue shoppers. Trump Grill and BG Restaurant make the cut, as does the questionably named Tommy Bahama Manhattan Island.
At the Daily News, Michael Kaminer visits Todd English’s revamped Olive’s, in the W Union Square, but wishes he hadn’t. Kaminer notes that “the degree to which Olives feels like a joyless brand extension underscores the perils of slapping star names on products and places. For all the personality and passion here, Todd English might as well be Betty Crocker.”
On the other end of the big-name spectrum,Time Out’s Jay Cheshes, samples Daniel Humm and Will Guidara’s spectacular, New York-inspired tasting menu at Eleven Madison Park. Spoiler-alert: there’s booze in the bread.