The Other Critics

Vettel Checks Out Scene at Old Town Social; Shouse Finds Few Highlights at Wasabi

Old Town Social
Old Town Social Photo: courtesy of Facebook

• Phil Vettel finally makes his way to Old Town Social, and decides that it has “more identities than Jason Bourne.” Around dinner time, it is “one of the most inviting, laid-back neighborhood joints in the city,” while at night it “morphs into a singles bar.” Fortunatley, the “constants to this shape-shifting madness” are the great beer and chef Jared Van Camp’s “remarkable, carefully crafted, small-plate creations.” Those include a “sensational pork-belly Reuben” and a flatbread pizza with lamb sausage, which is a “ray of Mediterranean sunshine to brighten a winter night.” [Trib]

• Heather Shouse thinks the chefs at Wasabi look “dead tired, bored and/or just going through the motions,” and that shows in the food. Sometimes they cut the “fish correctly; sometimes they don’t,” but nothing can save the ramen, which is “assembled from one-note broth and uninspired noodles.” But it has a few “standouts,” even if all are “drinking foods.” That includes “juicy chicken drumettes,” “nubs of chicken skin,” and yellowtail collar, which is “kissed with salt, perfectly grilled and needing nothing more than a squeeze of lemon.” [TOC]

• After 44 years, Edna’s Restaurant tragically closed last year after its owner died and the family decided not to carry on the business. Everyone thought that was the end of the story, but Mike Sula has found that restaurant has reopened as Ruby’s, and is keeping the cooks and menu mostly “the same.” While the “best biscuits on earth” tend to get all the press, he’s also “convinced” that the American cheese-based mac and cheese “can’t be touched by any other kitchen in the city.” [Reader]

• While Zapatista sounds like a Mexican restaurant, David Tamarkin finds that “it sure as hell doesn’t” serve “Mexican food.” He drops one star on the joint, writing that the ceviche is “mushy,” and the burrito’s are served with fries, which is “a crime not even Chipotle dares commit.” Even the “service is slow and inattentive.” [TOC]

Vettel Checks Out Scene at Old Town Social; Shouse Finds Few Highlights at