Monkey Bar Gets Hit; Three Stars for Café Boulud

Paul Adams liked some things about Monkey Bar, but it’s never a good sign if you hire a famous Chinese chef (Patricia Yeo) and the review includes the words “My neighborhood Chinese takeout does better dumplings.” [NYS]

Café Boulud, in an important rereview, gets three stars — enough to add momentum to Daniel Boulud’s empire building. [NYT]

Insieme looks dull, observes Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, but “profligate flavor and spirited service” show themselves once the food starts coming. [NYer]

Times Dining Briefs, Briefer Version: Benjamin Steakhouse is about as good as, if a little nicer than, the other Peter Luger spinoff steakhouses; Isabella’s Oven on Grand Street is essentially an elevated slice joint (not a bad thing); Aurora Soho is noisy but good in a New American way. [NYT]

Moira Hodgson, of all people, is the first important critic to write about Rayuela, and it has great cocktails, pretty good food, and lots of hot young women hanging around. Not a bad review to lead off with. [NYO]

Ryan Sutton hits Johnny Utah’s, and it sounds fun, in a drunken, paralyzing sort of way. The critic also shows a discerning eye for BBQ and a fondness for its eccentricities. Not so Southern Hospitality. [Bloomberg]

Randall Lane, still on his five-of-six-star binge, writes a panegyric to Park Avenue Summer. [TONY]

“There’s lots of ‘Wow’ at Hudson River Café,” Steve Cuozzo says, but not really so much because of the food. [NYP]