The Other Critics

Ssäm Bar Vindicated; Haute Cuisine Gets No Love

Momofuku Ssäm Bar wins two stars (!) from Bruni and completes a success story that seemed pretty unlikely a few months ago, when the place was selling Asian burritos to a handful of customers. The review is also a watershed in the changing culture of restaurants: Formal is now officially out, casual now officially legit. [NYT]
Related: The I Chang [NYM]

Meanwhile, Randall Lane is a lone dissenter, calling out Ssäm Bar for its unevenness, lack of focus, and the steep prices of some of its main dishes. On the whole, though, he seems to have missed the point — David Chang’s loose, unfettered approach to good cooking. [TONY]

Steve Cuozzo joins in the chorus of approval greeting Wayne Nish’s transformation of the stuffy March into the swinging, fusion-y Nish. The message: Remain formal at your own peril. (See reviews of Dennis Foy and Gordon Ramsay.) [NYP]
Related: Bedeviled [NYM]

Moira Hodgson loves haute cuisine with fewer reservations than most, but when her party of two got a bill for $813 at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, she was thrown for a loop. Most of Robuchon’s reviews have alluded to the restaurant’s astronomical prices, but this is the first time a critic has been outraged enough to make it the focus of her review. [NYO]

Peter Meehan finds the Tandoori-centric Earthen Oven, bestowing on it the not-so-lofty title of “best Indian food uptown.” [NYT]

Two southern-themed Brooklyn restaurants, NoNO Kitchen and the Smoke Joint, get Paul Lukas’s seal of approval (along with pretty much everyone else’s). Still, he may not be the best judge: Lukas mistakenly associates Cajun food with New Orleans (it’s from the bayou) and praises the Cookshack smoker, the barbecue equivalent of an Easy-Bake Oven. [NYS]

Ssäm Bar Vindicated; Haute Cuisine Gets No Love