The Other Critics

Sifton Impressed by Ciano; Cheshes, Sutton Praise the John Dory

Ciano “is ambitious, beautiful and flavor packed, a kind of Italian home cooking made grand and attractive,” says Sam Sifton. “It is another new take on the Italian restaurant in a city full of the same, a place that must step into the future as into the past. Tastes good there.”
Related: What to Eat at Ciano, Opening Friday

Jay Cheshes thinks the oysters at the John Dory are “expertly handled and impeccably sourced, served with plenty of liquor. A well-shucked oyster is the sort of simple pleasure that mostly characterizes the new understated John Dory.” [TONY]
Related: Don’t Call It a Fish Shack

According to Robert Sietsema, Caliu’s affordable bottles make it “a place that turns the modern tapas formula on its head—by selling the booze cheap enough that you’ll probably stay for an entire meal.” [VV]
Related: First Look at Caliu, BYOB Tapas From a Former Boqueria Chef

Lotus of Siam has “lived up to their promise as spawn of chef Saipin Chutima’s Las Vegas original, which some call the best Thai eatery in North America. But on Fifth Avenue at Ninth Street, 48 dishes — some of which can be done three different ways — might be too many for a kitchen bigger than some entire restaurants,” says Steve Cuozzo. “A little editing and more attention to detail could make everyone forget Las Vegas. And turn up the lights! A three-star restaurant is in reach. I’m willing to bet on it.” [NYP]
Related: Adam Platt on Lotus of Siam

Ai Fiori is a “Riviera-inspired sumptuary in the new Setai Hotel. I’m quickly seduced by White’s usual exuberance: the dazzling ‘mare e monte,’ sea and mountain, slices of raw sea scallops alternating with celery root discs lined up in a marrow bone, garnished with marrow and bits of black truffle,” says Gael Greene. “It’s impossible to be indifferent to flutters of truffle being shaved over little veal parcels of agnolotti that materialize unbidden.” [Insatiable Critic]

Fish Tag is “quite impressive — once you decipher the bill of fare, that is. Dishes are listed from lightest to heaviest, and on the sides you’ll see suggested beverages. And because everything’s mixed in together, you’ll see that appetizers are listed in red while entrées are black,” writes Lauren Shockey. “The high-aspiring cuisine is a welcome departure from the usual, and clearly a lot of energy went into creating the menu — occasionally too much: Certain dishes are over-thought to the point of confusion. If only they’d simplified, then channeled some of that brain power into the place’s name instead.” [VV]
Related: First Look at Fish Tag, the New ‘Fish Parlor’ From Psilakis and Skeen

The John Dory “challenges the senses with idiosyncratic, ingenious dishes that disregard borders. The larger, louder uptown space breathes life into a corner of the Garment District with giant windows, fish tanks and a small-plates menu. That’s right, no entrees,” says Ryan Sutton. “It’s not a place to linger; it’s a gastro-diner that expects you to get in, get your fix of smoky chorizo stuffed squid, and get out.” [Bloomberg]

Sifton Impressed by Ciano; Cheshes, Sutton Praise the John Dory