Sutton Still Taken With EMP; Tables for Two Finds Ciano ‘Like Heaven’

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Ryan Sutton finds that at Eleven Madison Park, the "telepathic wait staff" and "luxe Art Deco space" havent changed with Danny Meyer's departure. He takes on the seventeen-course, wine-paired $340 tasting menu, and while the critic thoroughly enjoys the foie gras and lemon lobster, he calls the dry-aged duck for two, "the belt-loosening deal closer." [Bloomberg]

Steve Cuozzo outlines a number of "fancy but affordable" eateries, where restaurantgoers can save a few bucks by "dinging outside the box." At Boulud Sud, guests can get away with a few appetizers and a large soup, and at Bar Boulud around the corner, "three charcuterie items plus one order of pommes frites will do for two." At Kibo he suggests the "robata lineup," while at La Promenade des Anglais, "you can have a grand meal starting with one of chef Alain Allegrettis signature creations, Provencale fish soup" ($14). At SD26 he prefers the half-portions of the "jumbo"-size dishes, meanwhile at T-Bar Steak & Lounge, he prefers the appetizers or burgers. Lastly, when dining at the Mark, "you can spend little more than at nearby diners if you go with starters, salads, pizza (not the strongest category) and splendid pasta in half-portions." [NYP]

Tables for Two visits Ciano, where "the service can be more than sloppy," but "who cares if a Martini lands in your lap when the food on your plate tastes like heaven?" The restaurants wine cellar "runs the gamut and offers an extensive list of half bottles." To start, try the veal meatballs, "so earthy they give dirt a good name," and finish with Honeycrisp Napoleon, which boasts an "unexpected kick of spiced apple." [NYer]

Dave Cook enjoys the "mouth-watering" chili at farm-to-table joint and meat market Butcher Bar, saying the "string beans sautéed with onion, garlic and bacon are terrific." Dry-rubbed St. Louis ribs are "great," and Chef Orlando Sanchezs pork chops "take a simple Greek approach." [NYT]

Pete Wells checks out Catskills offshoot Kutshers Tribeca. He writes, "when the kitchen isnt trying too hard, Kutshers turns all the jokes about Jewish cooking upside down." While "the pink, soft, delicately hot-smoked veal tongue; the peppery, cold-smoked pastrami of duck breast; and the chopped chicken and duck liver, all repay the effort," The gefilte fish "is the most striking example of overcompensation Ive ever tasted, and the blandest." [NYT]

Robert Sietsema loves the pickle platter at Coney Islands Kavkaz, as well as kebab "made from big oily swatches of sturgeon, which absorbs smoke like all get-out and arrives thoughtfully strewn with raw onions and fresh dill." At the Central Asian restaurant, he also enjoys the fresh "stuffed grape leaves (dolma, $9)," and the "Mutton eggs," which "refers somewhat evasively to some impressively large and undoubtedly semen-filled sheep testicles." [VV]

Lauren Shockey stops into Pulqueria, where "it doesn't take much to get sloshed especially after you realize pulque is stronger than beer and you've already chugged three of 'em." The restaurants "namesake is served in its natural glory ($6), but the infusions ($12) are the way to go." With regard to the food, she writes, "definitely skip the vegetables escabeche ($7, meh) and all the tacos ($11) especially the tongue one, oily and bland ($12). The food is certainly better here than you might expect, but the libations are what will lure you back." [VV]

Jordana Rothman also visits Kutshers Tribeca this week, and likes the veal tongue and pastrami. In contrast to some of her critic colleagues, she enjoyed the "lacy potato latkes (topped with caviar if you wish) and an opulent gefilte fish revision with wild halibut, beet-horseradish tartare and tendrils of micro-greens." Instead, she dislikes the "leaden black-and-white cookie ice cream sandwich and cloying babka bread pudding," calling them "missteps that verged on parody." [TONY]