the other critics

A Decisive Single Star for Merkato 55; Big Ups for Elettaria

Frank Bruni gives Merkato 55 a single star, thanks to “laughable” service and a menu that only registers as intermittently African. Still, it's not a takedown — the review is good-naturedly amused throughout. [NYT]

It's three big Restaurant Girl stars for Elettaria, as the diminutive critic swoons over the dishes and “dinner theater” aspects of the place. She has reservations on a few dishes and says a banquette is key, but this is pretty much a rave. [NYDN]

Paul Adams likewise admires Elettaria and sees Akthar Nawab's career coming to its fruition at last. A good week for Elettaria. [NYS]

The “gloriously realized” menu at Eighty One knocks Steve Cuozzo out, so much so that he claims to be willing to go eat there on his own dime. One of the Cuozz's most effusive reviews in a long time, and a real victory for the restaurant. [NYP]

Randall Lane also hits Eighty One and finds it good — particularly the seafood. His motto: “If it swims, it wins.” Four stars (of six). [TONY]

The food is pretty good at Bobo under its new chef, Jared Stafford-Hill, but the night you get there is what matters most, according to Andrea Thompson — it might be a cozy power scene, or it might be a cheesy, bridge-and tunnel-singles bar. Flip a coin. [NYer]

There's a new Asian food court in Flushing at the Golden Shopping Mall, and Robert Sietsema has fallen in love with it. [VV]

Bruni also stops in at the Rusty Knot and seems to like the place, despite (or rather because of) its unpretentious menu. [NYT]

Alan Richman loves the wine bar at Le Cirque — its grown-up atmosphere, the caliber of the proscuitto, the wonderful floating island, everything. A big up for the Maccionis. [GQ]

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