The Other Critics

Bruni Finds Bar Stuzzichini Good Enough; Sietsema Worships Insieme

Frank Bruni gives Bar Stuzzichini one star, praising its small plates (which give him his obligatory Zeitgeist paragraphs at the top) and then pointing out that the room and service are basically that of a “midtown mess hall.” The moral? Aim low, price right, and execute, and the critics will give you the guarded praise you need to stay open. [NYT]

Here’s one we never would have predicted in a million years: Insieme getting the panegyric it deserves from Robert “horsehead soup in the Bronx” Sietsema. Interestingly, the one thing he didn’t like was the lasagne, which was the place’s proudest boast when it first opened. [VV]

We predicted recently that it was just a matter of time before someone came down on Wakiya, but we never dreamed it would be Danyelle Freeman. She hits the place hard, mostly for the “dull” and “skimpy” food but, not a killer at heart, gives them credit for service, cocktails, and soup dumplings. But it won’t be long before another, meaner critic really lets it fly. [NYND]

Randall Lane bashes both Southern Hospitality and Johnny Utah’s, confirming about the former what several critics have said — that the food is generally as bad as you’d expect, except for the surprisingly competent Memphis-style wet ribs. On the latter, he comes down with both feet, writing with the acrimony of someone who loves barbecue and hates to see it mangled. Three of six and one of six, respectively. [TONY]

Accademia di Vino and Borough Food and Drink both get graced with new restaurant mini reviews by Marian Burros and Frank Bruni, respectively. But what a difference having it together in the early weeks makes: Accademia comes out smelling like a rose — its review a love letter to chef Kevin Garcia’s menu — and BFD gets killed, likely a result of Bruni’s visit during a period of turmoil following a smooth opening. [NYT]

Centro Vinoteca gets another positive note, with Moira Hodgson giving high marks for the gutsy, intelligent food, and low marks for the clamor and the bizarre brownout conditions of the bathrooms and upstairs dining room. [NYO]

Paul Adams drops in on Setagaya, praising its ramen like everybody else, but then going into the back where he finds Oriental Spoon, a secret restaurant nobody knows about, despite our having written about it. He admires their Malaysian tapas and feels bad that nobody goes there. [NYS]

Lauren Collins’s charming review of Marlow and Sons is exactly what The New Yorker intended: a smart, appealing portrait of a New York restaurant that both captures the place’s mood and style and also makes you want to go there. The nicest review of Marlow and Sons yet. [NYer]

Bruni Finds Bar Stuzzichini Good Enough; Sietsema Worships Insieme