The Other Critics

Sifton Names Ai Fiori a ‘Best New Restaurant’; Cheshes Impressed by Fish Tag

Ai Fiori “is one of the best restaurants to open in New York in the last 12 months. The menu is a soulful amalgamation of French technique and Italian passion, executed with great skill,” writes Sam Sifton. “Butter-poached lobster comes with root vegetables and a paint-thick sauce of butter, vin jaune, lobster essence and a jolt of acidity that owes something to the cooking of Jean-Georges Vongerichten.” [NYT]
Related: Adam Platt on Ai Fiori

Fish Tag “may be Psilakis’ most impressive experiment so far. Despite the stylistic range, the food is surprisingly cohesive,” says Jay Cheshes. “The small and large plates are best suited for sharing in a meze-type spread, progressing, for instance, from a light and elegant sea urchin crudo, to a much more assertive smoked octopus dish.” [TONY]

At Dai Wah Yummy City, “the excellence of the ingredients and level of execution prove to be startlingly high,” says Robert Sietsema. “Fried crisp, a whole flounder ($16.95) comes clad in chopped scallions, with nothing other than its vastness to make it attractive. I’d put this fish up against any at Le Bernardin.” [VV]

Donatella “is the latest twinkler in New York’s artisanal pizza firmament,” says Steve Cuozzo. “My favorite was Carita ($16), laden with oil-cured anchovies, Gaeta olives, mozzarella, herbs and garlic. The Margherita ($14), with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella and pecorino, is a pleasure.” [NYP]

Breuckelen serves “local, seasonal, new American fare that champions the ideals of farm living within a decidedly urban environment,” writes Lauren Shockey. “The restaurant, however, doesn’t execute food as deftly as some of its pioneering neighbors.” [VV]

“[You’ll like] Hung Ry if you like your macaroni and cheese drizzled with truffle oil and your French fries fried in duck fat,” suggests Hannah Goldfield. “Gamy goat shank and al-dente wax beans pair surprisingly well, and the decadent duo of pork tongue and smoked pork belly is nicely balanced.” [NYer]
Related: Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite on Hung Ry

What Happens When “is pure Fraser, sophisticated and mostly remarkable,” says Gael Greene. “Richly moist guinea hen cured before roasting and dressed with a whole roasted carrot, radicchio and flash-seared carrot greens in an orange vinaigrette is a triumph.” [Insatiable Critic]

Sifton Names Ai Fiori a ‘Best New Restaurant’; Cheshes Impressed by