The Other Critics

Tavern Disappoints Irene; Lamb Skin Amuse Delights at Ning Jie

• Goin’s pork-burgers and bacon-wrapped oysters are “good enough by themselves to make Tavern a destination” and starters win praise, but entrees make the Brentwood restaurant “just a wee bit disappointing in terms of its food at this point,” according to Irene Virbila. [LAT]

The Bazaar and our SLS Hotel are invaded by The New York Times, who sees it as “beautiful and innovative; it’s amazing that Mr. Starck has so many ideas left in him,” though “its design is so complex you may feel overstimulated.” Despite grumbles about the self-aware cuteness on display, “expect to pay a lot, but to get a lot for your money.” [Fred A. Bernstein/NYT]

• Ning Jie’s lamb noodle soup, stir-fried chicken hearts, lamb skin jelly, and grilled quail eggs defy expectations in San Gabriel. “If it’s dark, brown and filled with a jumble of unidentifiable bits, you probably want it.” [Thi Nguyen/LAT]

• “Prices are reasonable for high-quality food, and the atmosphere is relaxing,” at Sugar Spice Cafe, notes Beth Copley while appraising the pros and cons of waitresses-as-cooks. [LAist]

Akasha’s beer braised pepper short ribs are “so tender that it just fell away from the bone, I didn’t even need a knife,” writes Caroline on Crack during a beer-pairing dinner. [COC]

Animal’s Shook and DoTolo cook to “show us that animals are f—-ing awesome.” To eat that is, pleads Rants and Craves, while digging into pork belly burgers, chili-braised pig ear, and oxtail poutine. [RAC]

• “The patty had a heavy salting, but the meat lacked juice and character,” at Encino’s The Stand. AHT urges us to stick to hot dogs and skip the burgers. [Damon Gambuto/AHT]

Tavern Disappoints Irene; Lamb Skin Amuse Delights at Ning Jie