Adam Platt on Crown; the Year’s Best Foodie Gifts

Crown's dim dining room.

In this week's New York, Adam Platt checks out John DeLucie's new one, Crown. He finds the cooking "a cut above the usual DeLucie level," though in characteristic fashion, it's difficult for an ordinary person to sample it: "Reservations are doled out to a select, clubby clientele, which means normal civilians will find themselves sitting down to dinner ... at 5:45 or ten o’clock." Still, it's worth the effort for dishes like "a well-constructed salad of sautéed boutique mushrooms tossed with chestnuts, several surprisingly good handmade pastas," and an "expertly cooked rack of lamb." And though it could be "the darkest restaurant in Manhattan," it's not too dim to enjoy the scene: "local representatives of the One Percent, dressed for the evening in their blazers and glittering, brooch-encrusted gowns"; the restaurant receives two stars.

Meanwhile, Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld have been nibbling their way around town, in the service of finding the year's best foodie gifts. Consider anchovy-stuffed sette anni peppers or perhaps some Jasper Hill Farm Harbison cheese for the stomach-motivated folks on your list.

For something lighter, chef Justin Hilbert of Gwynnett St. provides his (indulgent seeming yet vegan) recipe for creamy walnut soup. And in other edible tidings, Francis Derby is back on the restaurant scene with a "Eurocentric" new place, King, that aims to make clientele feel royal with touches like "Champagne buttons," which "summon a waiter bearing coupes, an ice bucket, and a half-bottle of Veuve Clicquot for $39."