The Other Critics

Branch 27 is in Good Hands; Wave Runs Hot and Cold

Roast duck and Chinese broccoli at Sun Wah Bar-B-Q
Roast duck and Chinese broccoli at Sun Wah Bar-B-Q Photo: supafly/Flickr

• Now that John Manion’s taken over the kitchen at Branch 27, Mike Sula re-reviews the restaurant and finds much to his liking: assertive ingredients and smart prep choices (deep-fried chicken livers!) that benefit from Manion’s deft sense of flavor pairing. The biggest disappointments are in the standbys: the burger and the charcuterie plate could use work. [Reader, first item]

• Pat Bruno visits Wave a rare two times, one dinner and one lunch, and on the whole comes away impressed with chef Kristine Subido’s polyglot cuisine. He complains that he’d have liked the hummus to be spicier, and he helpfully clarifies that pancetta goes well with pork because it is also a pig-based product, and he’s grumpy about the price of the fish of the day, but there are moments of lightness and clarity that shine through. [S-T]

• Bruno also assumes that everyone out there can relate to the word “nana” (confidential to Pat: our primary association is the dog-nanny in Peter Pan), and thus compliments Nana’s choice of name. On such a positive note, it’s unsurprising that he swoons over basically everything: chilaquiles, french toast, the eggs nana-dict. Worth noting: Bruno owns up to not trying a single thing from the savory lunch menu. [S-T]

• Kate Schmidt has one of the best things she’s ever eaten in her life come out of Andy Motto’s kitchen at Quince: halibut with barley in coconut-lemongrass broth, topped with crispy shallots. The one misstep in the multi-course meal was the dessert, but a complimentary post-dessert of mini red velvet cupcakes soothed all wounds. [Reader, second item]

Salam underwent an expansion recently, which means more space but — as Sula discovers — less of a sense of intimacy between dining room and kitchen. That distance highlights the inconsistency of the food, and the presence of fried American items on an otherwise pan-Arabic menu is off-putting, but the dishes are still flavorful and bountiful. [Reader, third item]

• The new location of Sun Wah Bar-B-Q gets just as packed as the old, smaller venue, and Sula thinks its a testament to the top-notch food and huge portions at awfully low prices. The new dishes on the menu are just as awesome as the old ones, maybe better. [Reader, fourth item]

Branch 27 is in Good Hands; Wave Runs Hot and Cold