The Other Critics

Carey and Sutton Split on Red Rooster; Cuozzo Disappointed by Ember Room

The meatloaf for four at M. Wells is “napped in stroganoff gravy and served with spaetzle and knuckles of foie gras. It is a ridiculous dish, a perfect meal,” says Sam Sifton. “Also first-rate: a plate of veal brains that displayed the sort of sauté skills generally associated only with the very highest level of classical French cooking.” [NYT]

At Ember Room, “inedible, cellophane-like skin got in the way of spiced rotisserie chicken. Red chili-glazed sea bass, although flavorful, was both misnamed and overpriced: three eensy (repeat: eensy) nuggets of Chilean bass for $26,” writes Steve Cuozzo. “Ember Room has yet to advance much beyond ‘concept.’” [NYP]
Related: First Look at the Ember Room and Its Menu by Todd English and Ian Chalermkittichai

V-Nam Cafe’s “catfish in a crock combines the best of Vietnamese and French cooking, but skip the dull chicken curry,” says Robert Sietsema in his cartoon-style review. “Cheap and charming, V-Nam is better than bigger places with giant menus.” [VV]

The burratina at Saro “fights to delight, filling a homemade mozzarella shell with ricotta. Unfortunately a stringy texture ruins the outer layer,” says Lauren Shockey. “While the doughnuts capture the sugary bliss of a dinner’s end, you’ll likely forget the others (and, really, most of the meal) by the time you turn the corner after leaving the restaurant. [Balkan food] is damn bland.” [VV]
Related: First Look at Saro, Bringing ‘Cuisine of Long Lost Empires’ to the Lower East Side

Red Rooster “effortlessly integrates fusion elements spanning fried chicken, spongy Ethiopian injera bread, and Swedish meatballs,” says Leo Carey. “Flavors are on the sweet side: pickles are sweet, cocktails sweeter, and a bar snack of pulled pork with ‘rainbow slaw’ suggests a combination of main course and dessert.” [NYer]

Pier 9 offers “ceviche of raw salmon in big chunks with orange and citrus oil, lively chopped razor clams with bits of olive, cilantro and mint, then stuffed into their canoe-like shells, and my favorite, crispy shrimp tacos,” writes Gael Greene. “Mac and cheese [is] definitely an exaggeration. Half a dozen pasta rings filled with a fondue of cheddar, fontina, parmesan, cream cheese and cream with a curl of lobster on top does not satisfy the craving for that icon.” [Insatiable Critic]

Red Rooster’s “blackened catfish, no better than a prepackaged supermarket version, arrived with black eyed peas that smelled like dishwater. Baked lemon chicken was worse, the meat unseasoned and skin soggy as a wet towel,” writes Ryan Sutton. “Maybe, someday, Samuelsson will get soul food right.” [Bloomberg]

Carey and Sutton Split on Red Rooster; Cuozzo Disappointed by Ember Room