Ssäm Bar Vindicated; Haute Cuisine Gets No Love

Momofuku Ssm Bar wins two stars (!) from Bruni and completes a success story that seemed pretty unlikely a few months ago, when the place was selling Asian burritos to a handful of customers. The review is also a watershed in the changing culture of restaurants: Formal is now officially out, casual now officially legit. [NYT]
Related: The I Chang [NYM]

Meanwhile, Randall Lane is a lone dissenter, calling out Ssm Bar for its unevenness, lack of focus, and the steep prices of some of its main dishes. On the whole, though, he seems to have missed the point David Chang's loose, unfettered approach to good cooking. [TONY]

Steve Cuozzo joins in the chorus of approval greeting Wayne Nishs transformation of the stuffy March into the swinging, fusion-y Nish. The message: Remain formal at your own peril. (See reviews of Dennis Foy and Gordon Ramsay.) [NYP]
Related: Bedeviled [NYM]

Moira Hodgson loves haute cuisine with fewer reservations than most, but when her party of two got a bill for $813 at LAtelier de Jol Robuchon, she was thrown for a loop. Most of Robuchons reviews have alluded to the restaurants astronomical prices, but this is the first time a critic has been outraged enough to make it the focus of her review. [NYO]

Peter Meehan finds the Tandoori-centric Earthen Oven, bestowing on it the not-so-lofty title of best Indian food uptown. [NYT]

Two southern-themed Brooklyn restaurants, NoNO Kitchen and the Smoke Joint, get Paul Lukass seal of approval (along with pretty much everyone elses). Still, he may not be the best judge: Lukas mistakenly associates Cajun food with New Orleans (its from the bayou) and praises the Cookshack smoker, the barbecue equivalent of an Easy-Bake Oven. [NYS]