Chicken to the Rescue at Blue Ribbon Sushi; The Smith Hit Hard

The latest Blue Ribbon Sushi gets a whopping two stars from Frank Bruni, despite its titular sushi being not that great. No, it’s the souped-up fried chicken that added a star, making this two weeks in a row that poultry has saved the day. [NYT]

Paul Adams hits new East Village comfort-food zone the Smith with one of his rare bad reviews — generally, he finds the food clumsy and gross: “A main course of lamb schnitzel ($17) shows what the kitchen can do at its best: not particularly much.” Ouch! [NYS]

Nor was Danyelle Freeman especially enthralled with Brasserie 44, which got one and a half stars out of four. Her recollections of its food seem highly detailed, suggesting that she didn’t leave her notebook behind. [NYDN]
Related: So the Critic Left Her (?) Notes. So What?

Moira Hodgson wants you to know that she gets Lebanese food – she lived there as a girl! So she properly appreciates Ilili to the tune of two stars. The gist: good food; big, trendy room; shaky desserts. [NYO]

"Dining Briefs" has three brief, unenthusiastic reviews of flawed restaurants: Frank Bruni on Cooper’s Tavern, where he liked the steaks but not much else; Julia Moskin on the new Mermaid Inn, which she found “mediocre”; and Peter Meehan down on the trendy, unreliable, and undernourishing Bacaro. [NYT]

Robert Sietsema takes a break from his anthropological expeditions to check in on the state of the bistro, via Belcourt and Metro Marche. The former dropped the ball, but the latter, despite its Port Authority location, was right on the money. [VV]

Bar Boulud has now moved beyond triumphant buzz and into its rave-review period — in this case, Ryan Sutton’s experience with “life-changing cold cuts.” Poor Cooper’s Tavern, meanwhile, without the critic’s having even tried the steak, gets slammed for its burger and other ill-executed offerings. [Bloomberg]

"Tables for Two" feels that Toloache has an identity crisis and that their grasshopper tacos are nasty, but otherwise that the place is a very fine and impeccably authentic restaurant. [NYer]