Sifton Digs Casa Lever; Richman Rails Against Sparks

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Casa Lever “is a new Italian restaurant of the Manhattan old school, built for socialites and those who finance them, staffed by handsome, rakish men with huge wristwatches,” writes Sam Sifton. “The service is appealing, comic-opera stuff. And the food, while basic, is often quite good.” [NYT]
Related: A First Look at Casa Lever, Coming to Lever House Next Week

“In our rational exuberance we’ve ordered much too much of Chef Bloomfield’s too-muchness” at the Breslin, admits Gael Green. “Our crew sits quietly as if gelled in fat.” [Insatiable Critic]
Related: Ken Friedman Is Ready to Say ‘Yes’ to You at the Breslin

Sparks “has always been thought of as the finest purveyor of steak in Manhattan, and until now I’ve never had cause to disagree,” begins Alan Richman, ominously. “I have never in my life come upon another restaurant that makes customers feel so wrong if they insist on their food cooked properly. The kitchen correctly prepared two of five strip steaks ordered by the people at my table.” [Forked and Corked/GQ]

“In an era of absurdly exclusive restaurants (the Waverly Inn, Momofuku Ko), Le Caprice joins the gang as perhaps the most overhyped import to set up shop in New York,” says Jay Cheshes. “The bland, innocuous grub — country-club cooking with an Anglo spin — seems designed mostly not to offend.” [TONY]
Related: A Closer Look at Le Caprice, Now Serving Plebeians in the Pierre Hotel

Joseph Leonard “takes the pose of a shabby-chic apartment,” says Andrea Thompson. “The dependability of the menu seems to have drawn a number of regulars … attracting equal measures of Wall Street foodies, sleek young women … and the self-consciously dishevelled.” [NYer]
Related: First Look at Joseph Leonard, Bar and (American) Brasserie

“I ended up visiting Best Fuzhou three times. Fortunately for me, the food was spectacular,” says Robert Sietsema of this Chinatown spot. “The Fujianese adore soups, and our hands-down favorite was ‘water melon with fish stomach.’” [VV]