Sifton Gives Two Stars to John Dory Oyster Bar; Cheshes Disappointed in Ciano

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At the John Dory Oyster Bar, "Nantucket bay scallops arrive on the table barely kissed by olive oil, lemon and sea salt, as if dredged out of Madaket Harbor and served immediately, still dripping, on the boat," says Sam Sifton. "All this greatness comes at a cost, which is the time and dignity lost waiting for a table." [NYT]

Ciano's "rib-sticking pleasures may be easy to like, but they’re just as easy to forget," writes Jay Cheshes. "From a chef known for challenging diners, Ciano is disappointingly restrained. But for those who remain in the grip of Italian simplicity, it’s still a pretty good restaurant." [TONY]
Related: Adam Platt on Ciano, Millesime

Ai Fiori's butter-poached Nova Scotia lobster "is a dish to shut us all up. All the words fall short," writes Steve Cuozzo. "Ai Fiori might deserve more stars than three." [NYP]

At Cholulita, "Sure the tacos are good, but, really, tacos are just a fast-food convenience compared to the antojitos produced from freshly made masa," says Robert Sietsema. The quesadillas are made with "corn smut called huitlacoche, which has the appearance and texture of squid squirming in its own ink." [VV]

Ai Fiori is "a luxurious, Monte Carlo-esque hybrid of Italian and French Riviera cuisines," says Ryan Sutton. "Pastas, are excellent, with the exception of trofie nero, which is outstanding. Conservative eaters, who sometimes recoil from White’s offal, lard-heavy approach to life, will appreciate Ai Fiori as a more restrained effort." [Bloomberg]

Rubirosa is "gutsy to open a pizza place just steps from Lombardi’s," writes Shauna Lyon. "The menu sticks to the basics. The fact that Rubirosa has a salumi plate—a raging trend right now—seems more like a coincidence than a strategy." [NYer]
Related: First Look at Rubirosa, an Esca Alum's Throwback Italian Joint