Tejal Rao at Cocoron; Robert Sietsema at Nargis Cafe


This week, our own Tejal Rao found the beauty in buckwheat at Nolita’s Cocoron. Of the restaurant’s signature soba, she writes that “the noodles here have soul and bite. A massive pot of water rolls in the back of the kitchen, sending up a clean, perfumed steam.” This second location for husband and wife duo Yoshihito Kida and Mika Ohie is worth the trip that will “leave your senses sharp and your limbs agile.”

Also in the Voice, Robert Sietsema is back in the USSR at Homecrest’s Nargis Cafe. The restaurant features Korean and Jewish dishes alongside one another, while still offering the requisite meat kebabs — which Sietsema deems “superb and way smoky” — that are expected in an Uzbekian joint.

At the Times, Pete Wells continues his adventures in vegetarianism this week at Moti Mahal Delux, the Upper East Side Indian restaurant. The experience is quietly illuminative as Wells says that, “It had been a while since [he] had considered just how indulgent vast quantities of butter can make a humble plate of lentils, but the great practitioners of North India’s Mughlai cuisine never forgot. Mughlai food can be seductively rich and, with its wealth of spices and fresh ginger, spellbindingly aromatic.” He gives the restaurant two stars.

NY Mag’s Adam Platt tries L’Apicio, the lastest venture from partners Gabe Stulman and Joe Campanale on the Bowery. Platt compares the new spot to the duo’s others and writes, “like most of the other Thompson and Campanale operations, the new restaurant’s name begins with an apostrophized A, and also like the other venues, the menu here is stocked with appetizing-sounding pastas and polentas smothered in elegantly earthy “Italian inspired” ragùs. But by Thompson and Campanale’s tiny, Mini Cooper standards, L’Apicio is a huge Rolls-Royce of a place.” L’Apicio receives two stars.

Steve Cuozzo explores questionable service and slightly irritating waitstaff at a number of establishments throughout the city. The Post’s critic asks servers to keep their opinions to themselves and to “do your jobs, guys. Just tell us what to expect.”

Bloomberg’s Ryan Sutton returns to an East Village favorite, Hearth, and finds it as relevant as ever. The charitable restaurant — Hearth has thrown a number of benefits to support Sandy relief efforts, as well as support other charities — also serves sublime food. Sutton writes that the “ethereal veal-ricotta meatballs ($29) are red-sauce bliss, collapsing in the mouth with all the resistance of oatmeal.” He gives the restaurant three stars.

Ariel Levy at The New Yorker tries Chelsea’s Chop Shop, “the cozy, kooky pan-Asian café that Danny Emerman and Mah Chan opened earlier this year.” Levy has a positive experience and notes that much of the meal is “toothsome and sophisticated” offering “subtle takes on traditional Thai, Vietnamese, and Chinese cuisine enlivened by unexpected ingredients and techniques.”

Time Out’s Jay Cheshes goes loco for most of the food at the West Village’s El Toro Blanco. “Rich, gooey queso funded… is a pretty irresistible mix of mild and sharp cheeses with green chili sauce and crumbled chorizo,” he writes in his three star review.