Room 21 may be able to play coy with us and not send their menu liked they promised (twice), but they’re no match for David Tamarkin, who is duly impressed by the decor (“those are unstamped Louis Vuitton luggage handles!”), but less so by the menu ("the diet of the nuclear families from the time when Al Capone hung out here”). Jerry Kleiner’s post-speakeasy attracts a hip fashionable slutty crowd, whose dining options include a variety of decent steaks, some boring tuna tartar and mushroom fonduta, and an unusually delicious chicken confit. For dessert, forget the signature beignets and go for the red velvet cake. Or just skip it entirely.
On the other hand, Coalfire is burning on all cylinders (don’t you hate mixed metaphors?) according to Heather Shouse, who has noticed an uptick in quality and consistency since the East Coast-style pizza place opened a few weeks ago. Heather loves the Fiorentino (tomato sauce, mozzarella, hot calabrese salami, red peppers, $14.50), and so should you. By the way, it’s Coalfire, not Coal Fire, as indicated in this review. Why doesn’t anyone ever listen?!
Best non-restaurant-review in this issue: Jake Malooley’s website find, eat the seasons. It’s an incredibly simple little site that tells you which vegetables, fruits, meats and seafood creatures are in season right this second. Not what will be in season in a month, not what was in season last week, not what’s in season in Japan, but right here in North America, right now. For example, we’re suddenly craving seared lamb chops with a strawberry-rhubarb compote and roasted kohlrabi. Aren’t you?