Sifton Finds Fish Tag ‘Strange and Frustrating’; Cuozzo Thinks Ciano Can Improve

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Fish Tag "marries solid Mediterranean cooking to a kind of wackadoo, cheffy bravado that brings sea urchin to the table as if it were art," writes Sam Sifton. "Fishtag is a good restaurant trapped inside a bad one. The restaurants [lamb] burger deserves much praise, though." [NYT]
Related: First Look at Fish Tag, the New 'Fish Parlor' From Psilakis and Skeen

At Ciano, "Except for inexplicably tough veal meatballs, pre-entrée courses scored every time. Actual main courses, though, can be a letdown," says Steve Cuozzo. "Branzino and striped bass were uneventful for $35 and $36. A Berkshire pork chop ($33) arrived well-charred, well-herbed and so tough, the knife made barely a dent." [NYP]

At Fedora, "the 'crispy pig head' ... [is] reduced to little breaded lumps, which, when fried, become oozy and oh-so-delicious," says Robert Sietsema. "One of Fedora's liveliest entrées is skate wing ($25) with a marrow-filled shinbone resting on top, like a shotgun leaned against an easy chair." [VV]

Graffit "takes a Modernist approach to Spanish fare. While not everything is a smash success, the food is playful and visually compelling," says Lauren Shockey. "Confit artichokes engage in a delicious ménage à trois with fat, briny clams and strips of salty Serrano ham. Another must-order is the 'not your average egg'." [VV]

At Riverpark, "while the repertoire of comfort-food classics wont throw you any curveballs, the dining experience is executed with admirably consistent muted professionalism," writes Amelia Lester. "Veer from the script, however, and the results are mixed. Goose tortelloni, which sounded intriguing, swam in a red-wine sauce that unfortunately evoked spring-break sangria." [NYer]

At Ember Room, "Nothing tastes as if it was cooked to order. Marinated ox tongue must be bathed and sliced ahead, but its lost its unique texture along the way," writes Gael Greene. "After a stretched out lull, we have a dish that we all love: Korean barbecued beef fried rice, peppery hot, in temperature too." [Insatiable Critic]
Related: First Look at the Ember Room and Its Menu by Todd English and Ian Chalermkittichai

"Longtime Yasudo proteges Mitsuru Tamura and Tatsuya Sekiguchi were anointed to keep things conservative [at Sushi Yasuda]. You still will be offered hard-to-find fish, simply prepared," says Ryan Sutton. "Kohada, a shiny Japanese herring, gets a light slick of shoyu; the clean oil lingers on the tongue. Coarse sea salt adds crunch to custardy sea urchin." [Bloomberg]