Raves for Picholine and Porter House New York; Everybody Else Damned With Faint Praise

Bruni has his birthday party at "reinvigorated" Picholine and, to the tune of three stars, declares it "arguably the nicest restaurant surprise of this disappointing season." [NYT]

Meehan has mixed feelings about Lunetta but concedes: "Mr. Shepard can cook." [NYT]

Alan Richman goes slumming at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and finds signs of promise at best. "Metro Marche is not a great restaurant. Unless Escoffier takes over the kitchen, it will never be a fashionable one. It could become quite respectable, though." [Bloomberg]

7Square helps Andrea Strong achieve "peacefulness" in the theater district; she dubs this "steakhouse version 2.5." [Strong Buzz]

At another chophouse, Porter House New York (this one with "no gold-leaf shtick, no thrills," as Gael pointed out), Moira Hodgson loves the superb lamb chops and the outstanding tongue salad, and the cheesecake is the best she's ever had. [NYO]

Rub-happy Lonesome Dove rubs yet another critic the wrong way, though Paul Adams likes the non-steak dishes a lot more than Platt did: "The 'prairie butter' is delicious; and a dark-horse main course of lamb chops ($26) is fantastic." [NYS]

Augie knocks down one of the West Village newcomers, the thriving Cafe Cluny. "The best you can hope for from a restaurant serving the standards that are on this menu is aptitude, which this place has." [Augieland]