The Other Critics

Sifton Slams Plein Sud; Richman Pans Shake Shack

Plein Sud is “an awkward little bistro” where the food looks better than it tastes, says Sam Sifton. “It is by no means a good restaurant. ” At Wall and Water, however, the food “can soar” — the restaurant, tucked inside a hotel, is “a delightful surprise, a case of pleasure arising out of diminished expectations.” [NYT]
Related: A Look Inside Frederick Lesort’s Latest, the AvroKo-Designed Plein Sud

The meat at Shake Shack, “while beefy and dense, isn’t particularly flavorful or juicy,” Alan Richman reports, after visiting all four New York locations. “The crinkle-cut fries are satisfying in an eating-on-the-boardwalk way, but they don’t have a great deal of potato flavor.” [Forked & Corked/GQ]
Related: Danny Meyer Thinks Shake Shack Holds Its Own Against Five Guys

“There’s an awful lot of nautical kitsch” at the Upper East Side Luke’s Lobster, notes Andrea Thompson. “You feel as though you’ve stumbled into a Down East Applebee’s.” The lobster roll delivers, though, and “The shrimp and crab rolls are stuffed full of juicy seafood, and are even more affordable than the signature roll.” [NYer]

“The noise is unbearable” at Xiao Ye, Gael Greene complains, and “’Mom’s Cold Noodles’ with cucumber slivers in Sichuan peppercorns and chile oil are just plain boring.” Still, “I love the ‘Princeton Review Bean Paste Noodle,’ a Taiwanese classic with wonderfully firm noodles, Duroc pork, salty bean paste and cucumber.” [Insatiable Critic]

The food at Smoke “has proven that great jazz and great food are not incompatible,” raves Ed Levine. Black truffle coq au vin is “a memorably delicious plate of food,” and desserts are “as satisfying and straight-ahead as the band.” [Serious Eats NY]

Checking out wine bars, Robert Sietsema finds the food at Aria “surprisingly good,” though the “wine selection is wildly uneven, ranging from exciting … to awful.” Pinkerton is “low-energy restaurateuring at its most extreme … a discount wine bar.” At Enoteca on Court, “my date and I couldn’t shake the impression that [it’s] really a full-service restaurant masquerading as a wine bar.” [VV]

Sifton Slams Plein Sud; Richman Pans Shake Shack