The Other Critics

Sifton Runs Hot and Cold on Nuela; Cuozzo and Greene Visit Jean Georges

“The atmosphere is pregnant with vague excitement” at Nuela, reports Sam Sifton, and it’s all in what you make of it. “Allow it all to happen and you may find yourself drifting out of Manhattan, into a kind of South Beach limbo just down the block from Madison Park … Don’t allow it to happen and misery will follow.” [NYT]
Related: Unusual Suspects: The Rise of Vegetable Cocktails

Chef Isao Yamada of Bouley Studio is “a prodigy in the intricate multicourse Japanese feasts known as kaiseki,” and his twice-weekly dinners are “a harmonious procession of food and an astonishing bargain,” says Jay Cheshes. The restaurant is “a stealth bargain, and an under-the-radar glimpse of the next Bouley hit in the making.” [TONY]

“The 13-year-old Nougatine is not only a wonderful restaurant, it’s one that is stealthily of-the-moment,” Steve Cuozzo raves of the hyperfresh produce meticulously prepared at Jean Georges’s outer dining room. But “service can lag and so can floor-to-kitchen communication.” [NYP]

“You might dismiss the room [at Jean Georges] as unremarkable, rather grey, with a ridiculous octopus of a chandelier above,” writes Gael Greene. But her meal is ecstatic: The sea-trout sashimi comes in “a foaming whirlpool thick as mayonnaise, fiercely lemony with an undertone of horseradish. The first taste is so smart-ass tangy, I almost cry out.” [Insatiable Critic]
Related: Jean Georges Cook Survives on Radish Peels, Granola Bars

“If you like simple roasted meats at bargain prices, Bab al Yemen is your destination,” says Robert Sietsema. The Bay Ridge Yemeni spot offers traditional fare, including “saltah, a bubbling cast-iron pot of fenugreek-laced goo that, were it bigger, might make a nice prop for a production of Macbeth.” [VV]

“Forget about the dopey name. Eataly is full of wonders,” Ryan Sutton says. He doesn’t like how far meat restaurant Manzo is from the bathrooms, but loves the pesto lasagna at the vegetable mini-restaurant, “whose firm texture bested a version I had at Del Posto.” [Bloomberg]
Related: Jeffrey Steingarten on Eataly

Sifton Runs Hot and Cold on Nuela; Cuozzo and Greene Visit Jean Georges