The attentions of New York’s food staff are divided between modernity and tradition. Gael Greene is vexed with Provence, a reopened French restaurant which was faithfully conventional even in its former incarnation. Rob and Robin, apart from their usual announcements of new places in Openings, extract from Anthos chef Michael Psilakis a comparatively novel recipe for mature dandelion greens. And Adam Platt finds himself caught in the middle of Marco Canora’s half-modern, half-classical menu at Insieme.
The path to serving booze downtown is especially tricky these days — even for a restaurant, like Lola, with a long, respected track record. The haute southern favorite was sitting pretty for almost two decades on 22nd Street, with two stars from the Times and a loyal clientele, but the usual cadre of community activists opposed granting the place a liquor license when the owners found a new space in Soho. Two years later, they've won the right to pour freely. The new Lola will open in early February with emotional Top Chef season-one finalist (and breakout star) Dave Martin as its chef. It remains to be seen whether Martin will collapse into one of his trademark breakdowns; perhaps Top Chef fans can request one when they make reservations.
Lola, 15 Watts St., nr. Thompson St.; 212-675-6700.