The Other Critics: Wells Gives M. Wells Steakhouse One Star; Richman Loves Dover
This week, Adam Platt awarded two stars to M. Wells Steakhouse for the "elegant, two-fisted Montreal cooking," but "minus a star for the mediocre beef" — a sentiment also expressed in Pete Wells's review. Alan Richman ate the chicken for two at Dover, while Joshua David Stein feasted at RedFarm. Read it all, straight ahead.
Pete Wells visited the oft-reviewed M. Wells Steakhouse in Long Island City, where the "one thing that needs improvement is the steak." But the rest of the menu is "deeply satisfying." Portions are huge ("I have eaten whole tasting menus that were less filling than the appetizers"), and must-order dishes include the French onion soup with poached pork belly and a marrow bone, the Solomon Gundy, the sweetbreads blanquette, an "improbably crisp" grilled iceberg wedge salad, and the cheesecake. Skip the lamb ("as sweet as a Jell-O salad"), the bland lobster roll, the pricey caviar sandwich, and the bone-in burger, "a hit on Instagram" but not on the "juiciness and tenderness scales." One star.
Alan Richman filed a review on Dover this week, giving it three stars for the food, two stars for the service, and one star for the room itself. His main gripe with the restaurant is the space, which he found to be too tight. The food, especially the "splendid" chicken for two, served in two courses, is excellent. Lamb ribs "were beyond sensual, so soft and luscious," while the caviar pie and the sea scallops with sweet-and-sour sauce were also enjoyable. Just be sure to skip the banana-cream pie with a "leaden rather than flaky" crust.
Like many other critics, Daniel S. Meyer was quite pleased with Rôtisserie Georgette, and gave it three stars. The poule de luxe is a total palate pleaser, especially with the "fat-tinged" panko-mushroom stuffing of which he "could eat a pint." But many dishes "fail to strike the same balance," such as the "too-floral" rib eye and the gnocchi, which "disintegrate too quickly." The "humbler" but "succulent" poulet roti, pommes frites, and a tarte tatin for two are reason enough to visit.
Joshua David Stein checked out the Upper West Side outpost of Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng's RedFarm. The price point ("this isn’t the Golden Shopping Mall in Flushing, where $4 gets you 12 dumplings") and the clientele ("a madding crowd, in their Brooks Brothers button-ups") are reflective of the neighborhood, but the menu is loaded with "some of the best Chinese food you'll ever have." There are hardly any misses and must-orders include: the "aromatic" pork chops, the shrimp-stuffed chicken, the grilled shrimp hot-and-sour soup ("so good I want a waterbed filled with it''), and the "signal achievements" of the restaurant — the dumplings. Four stars.
Hannah Goldfield of The New Yorker filed a review on Fung Tu, where the menu "tells a deeply personal Chinese-American story." Dishes like the egg roll stuffed with an "disconcertingly enchilada-like" filling of pork belly and olives come off as muddled — a problem of "intention versus outcome." There are some hits to be found, in plates like the "impossibly silky" roasted beet slices with salty fermented tofu, and the deep-fried duck-leg confit stuffed with dates.
Stan Sagner found Williamsburg's Shalom Japan to be "a tasty marriage of Japanese and Jewish cuisines," and awarded it four out of five stars. He insists that all meals here should start with the sake-infused braided challah, as well as the "hefty" tuna tataki served atop "inky" and "thick" black tahini. Other successes: the crispy okonomiyaki made with shaved lamb's tongue (an "umami bomb"), caraway-spiked barbecue lamb ribs, the lox bowl topped with a Sriracha-and-mayo "crack sauce," and the "belly-warming" chocolate-banana bread pudding.
Ryan Sutton did not file a review this week, but he wrote a guide on how to eat well in New York for all those visiting for the Super Bowl.