The Times finds Provence beautiful, romantic, and well-intentioned, but barely worthy of a single star. A major disappointment for the Marc Meyer/Vicki Freeman team, who had been on a roll with Five Points and Cookshop. [NYT]
In the Post, Steve Cuozzo — judiciously taking the long-term view as usual — makes the case that Amalia, FR.OG, and Insieme, “the best new Italian restaurant since L’Impero,” have overcome weak starts to become some of the city’s strongest places. [NYP]
Paul Adams gives yet another admiring review to Insieme, though he found the much-praised lasagne underflavored and disappointing. His favorite dish: a chamomile farfalle. [NYS]
The restaurants at the Time-Warner Center were conceived as a kind of dining Valhalla: a food court of the Gods, with prices to match. But now Per Se, Masa, Café Gray, and Porter House New York are getting a downscale casual neighbor with Landmarc, which opens today. Of course, it isn’t quite accurate to cast Landmarc’s arrival as a snobs-vs.-slobs sitcom; Landmarc is both well-liked and well-respected for chef Marc Murphy’s eclectic, hearty, well-executed American dishes. And both the wine and dessert programs were always a big hit downtown. Will that translate to filling the 300 seats of the new place? Hard to say. But it won’t be for lack of accessibility: the new Landmarc will be open from 7 am to 2 am every day, and will be delivering as well. We’d like to see you get that from Per Se.
This week’s food section is all about pressure: A pastry chef has to cook every night for a president who hates pineapples and will send him packing at the first hint of progressive dessert-making; Vinh Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese-American, rolls the dice with his Williamsburg restaurant Silent H, and, as far as Rob and Robin are concerned, comes up lucky seven; Jeffrey Chodorow, fresh off his battle with Frank Bruni and Adam Platt, opens a big new restaurant and hopes for the best; and four new restaurants open, surely hoping for the best as well. Even this week’s In Season is rife with tension, calling as it does for a delicate filleting operation that could easily destroy a beautifully roasted flounder. The New York food world is not for the faint of heart.
It's always a sad day for Francophiles and nostalgists when yet another beloved old-school French restaurant shutters its doors, but in the case of Provence — which served its last bowl of bouillabaisse on Saturday — it could be a lot worse.
Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, the owners of Cookshop and Five Points, have taken over the space with plans to completely gut the kitchen, redo the dining room, put in a raw bar, and reopen by January as — guess what? — a nice French restaurant called Provence.