The Other Critics

Bruni Loves Ippudo’s Ramen; Pho Sure Is a ‘Little Gem’

Frank Bruni hands out one star to Ippudo, which might have done better if not for his issues with the crowd control and lack of reservations. And even though there’s “remarkable unevenness” on the menu, the ramen really gets him going: “I would sometimes look up from my ramen and realize that I hadn’t acknowledged my companions for several minutes, and had in fact forgotten that they were there.” [NYT]

Bruni also manages to weigh in on the culinary offerings at the new ballparks, noting ambition and failure at both. Ultimately he awards the upper hand to the Mets thanks to the work of Danny Meyer and his Shake Shack outpost, which offers the “payoff of hot-off-the-griddle cheeseburgers as juicy, beefy and irresistible as at Shack locations in Manhattan.” [NYT]
Related: Grub Street’s coverage of stadium eats

Danyelle Freeman reports on Bubby’s, where she seems equally intrigued by the “young, downtown types” and the “wonderfully dense mac and cheese.” Aside from the upscale diner menu, she’s happy to “find good food and good atmosphere in the middle of the night.” [NYDN]

Gael Greene calls Michael Huynh’s Pho Sure “a little gem,” pointing out that you can have a feast there without breaking the bank. Even if the pho doesn’t impress her, she is taken by the “perfectly fried salt-and-pepper soft-shell crab” and “my favorite, the pan fried rice cake with Chinese sausage and a fried duck egg.” [Insatiable Critic]
Related: What to Eat at Baoguette and Pho Sure (Bull’s Penis, for Starters)

Alan Richman can’t stop writing about pizza, so he checks out three newcomers: Tonda (“The toppings here are overly ambitious yet flavorsome, but the crusts are flabby, tasteless, barely charred … ”), Ignazio’s (“The crusts were hard, flat, bland … ”), and Emporio (“The tomato sauce, from San Marzano tomatoes, was properly vibrant … and the crust was thin, supple, and strong”). [Forked/GQ]
Related: Richman Reconsiders GQ Pizza Ranking

Robert Sietsema samples Gazala Place’s Druze cuisine, which is an improvement upon the “bland collection of bread dips and kebabs” associated with Middle Eastern food. Here, the pitas “are not of the cardboard pocket variety you’ve come to dread” and “the lamb kebabs are some of the best in Hell’s Kitchen.” [VV]

Lauren Collins makes a late visit to Socarrat and likes the “handsome waiters,” yet finds the tapas “satisfying but undistinguished.” As for the namesake dish, she enjoys the meat-happy Paella Socarrat, but “[t]he Valenciana version suffers a bit for its lack of saffron and a surfeit of grease.” [NYer]

Bruni Loves Ippudo’s Ramen; Pho Sure Is a ‘Little Gem’