The Other Critics

Mesa Grill Keeps One Star, Barely; Richman Rejuvenated by Dovetail

Mesa Grill loses a star, but this is one of the worst one-star reviews you’ll ever read, even going so far as to compare it to gulag gourmet: “During one dinner the three slivers of chicken in the appetizer tacos were among the most shriveled, desiccated pieces of meat I’ve seen outside a bodega buffet at 3 a.m.” [NYT]
Related: Salute the Gulag Gourmet Movement

Now this is something cheering: Alan Richman found a tablecloth restaurant that got him genuinely excited. Dovetail’s food, he says approvingly, is “exuberant and shocking” — in a good way. [Bloomberg]

Paul Adams hits Cooper Tavern, a not particularly ambitious hotel restaurant recently given a “meh” review by Frank Bruni, and likes it a little better, although the fries are “pathetically poor” and the pork chop is “hardly going to be the talk of the city’s pork chop grapevine.” We can testify that that part is true. [NYS]

You might expect that an all-pig’s-foot restaurant such as Hakata Tonton would be right up Peter Meehan’s alley, and in fact the scribe is very down with the concept and some of the dishes. But others he finds more than a little iffy. The buzz era on Hakata Tonton is now officially over. [NYT]

Momofuku Noodle Bar now has a bigger space but still the same thrall over critics, as Randall Lane’s four-star review shows. But Lane does try to analyze what he loves about the place, which is more than most critics have done, and it seems to come down to attitude, high-low cooking, and lots of pork. [TONY]

Bar Blanc is neatly and lucidly dissected in 300 words or less by Lauren Collins, and the upshot is that the room is elegant and the food good — but as a whole way too expensive. [NYer]

Predictably for any restaurant with a name like Hot Pot City, Robert Sietsema had only good words to say — but the real nugget in his admiring review is the fact that for $3 over and above the set price, you can get all the beer you can drink. Hello! [VV]

Danyelle Freeman is the first to file on Williamsburg’s Vinas, which she approves of so much (two stars) that she even thinks its mistakes are cute. [NYDN]

Mesa Grill Keeps One Star, Barely; Richman Rejuvenated by Dovetail