The Other Critics

Sietsema Praises Flushing’s Hunan Kitchen; Serious Eats Enjoys the Beagle

“Hunan Kitchen is the most serious restaurant serving the food of the region wedged between Sichuan and Guandong that New York City has yet seen,” praises Robert Sietsema. “The surprise favorite cooking technique is steaming, which might make you think of cheerless ‘healthy’ meals offered by most Chinese restaurants. Far from it.” [VV]

“The maze to get to the Crêpe Cabana at Le Bain atop The Standard Hotel’s roof is worth it,” says Emily Glazer. “The Smoked Salmon, Capers & Sour Cream or Goat Cheese & Mushroom (both $8) are filling and flavorful. If you’re yearning for sweet, the Dulce de Leche & Salted Walnuts ($7) shouldn’t be missed.” [WSJ]

At Masa, “The quality of the ingredients and preparations were sometimes breathtaking,” writes Sam Sifton. However, he concludes that “extraordinary food alone does not an extraordinary restaurant make,” and takes away one of its stars. [NYT]
Related: Sifton Strips Masa of Its Fourth Star

At Qi, “Charcoal grilled heads-on tiger prawns are perfectly cooked and wreathed in fish sauce with a torrid burn from garlic, lime and chile,” says Gael Greene. “In even the best Thai restaurants, brilliant sauces tend to mask overcooked fish and meat. But here the duck is crusty, juicy and moist; the Penang curry a seductive blend of kaffir lime, coconut milk, peanuts and chile heat with notes of cumin and nutmeg.” [Insatiable Critic]

“The cocktails (all $12) at The Beagle are so well balanced and integrated that you may have trouble picking out what’s in them — and it’s quite possible you’ve never tasted some of these ingredients before,” says Serious Eats. “And while the Half Chicken ($24) sounded tame on the menu, it was easily the best dish of our meal. A leg and a breast are pressed together with foie gras and Lincolnshire Poacher cheese in between. Its seared skin is seriously crisp and the meat is crazy-juicy, with a deeply seasoned, fennel scented flavor, almost like good Italian sausage.” [Serious Eats]

Fedora, which opened in Greenwich Village in 1917 and has been recently reinvented, could not be more up-to-date,” observes Julia Moskin. “But sometimes it seems that the menu was designed around what’s trending on Twitter, not what tastes good: does asparagus with a lovely buttermilk vinaigrette need whelks, too? Does lamb sausage need octopus?” [NYT]

At Maison Premiere, “Stagecraft dominates the experience until the moment a plate of oysters shows up, and you eat one. That’s when you understand that the fakers who run this place are for real,” says Pete Wells. When you are given the seafood menu and a pencil, “you can check off sweet steamed king crab legs ($34), smaller Jonah crab claws ($20) or both. You can — you should — place an X next to the shrimp cocktail, so you can be reminded how good that dish is when the shrimp are tender and briny and the sauce is spicy and sharp.” [NYT]

Sietsema Praises Flushing’s Hunan Kitchen; Serious Eats Enjoys the Beagle