The Other Critics

Sifton Praises Danji; Cuozzo Disappointed by Casa Nonna

Jay Cheshes is impressed by the “fiery, funky” Northern Thai fare at Zabb Elee in the East Village. “Getting to the perfect meal requires trial and error,” so he instructs would-be diners that the duck larb is “a must”; also, “order your crispy pork sautéed with Chinese broccoli ( kana moo korb)” instead of fried, and save the fryer for the “golden tilapia’s crispy nuggets” and the “succulent” fried chicken that’s “better” than the “good” steamed chicken. [TONY]

Robert Sietsema gives a mixed review to the newly reopened St. Anselm in Williamsburg. While the appetizers were “terrif,” the chicken and beef ribs “constituted flights of fancy so strange that you wonder why no one noticed how bad they were.” He respects the “grilling ethos,” successfully executed with the seafood as well as a grilled Caprese salad that “turned out to be a boffo idea.” For the keg wines, he recommends the “plainish, unoaked” Channing Daugheters chardonnay over the “thin” and “sour-tasting” Red Hook rosé. [VV]

Sam Sifton awards one star to Danji, insisting the menu of modernized and traditional Korean tapas is worth braving the “fast-casual turn-and-burn” pace and uncomfortably hot crowd. Despite the “pallid” wings, lack of dessert, and annoyingly requisite grilled corn and fried calamari, he revels in the traditional pairing of spicy whelk salad and buckwheat noodles, the “excellent” bulgogi sliders, and praises the “magical” flash-fried tofu and the “fancy form” steak tartare that seems “exactly as if it might be served with a plate of fries at Benoit or Balthazar.” He concludes, “Go.” [NYT]

Steve Cuozzo is disappointed by the “risk adverse (and aroma-free)” Casa Nonna, a “prefab-looking replica of the Washington, DC, original.” Though brought down by the “tacky floral wallpaper” and “gloomy dark wood,” he admits, chef Amy Brandwin’s “mainstream menu gets the job done.” He enjoyed the “juicy, grilled split chicken” and pork cheeks, and gives the wood-oven pizza a “solid B.” [NYP]

Ryan Sutton grants a star and a half (minus half for noise) to the Leopard at des Artistes, lamenting that the “devoutly civilized den” of Cafe des Artistes has turned into “just another Italian spot with noisy hardwood floors and tight seating.” He suggests you “avoid the appetizers altogether,” but writes the veal in its own sauce “packs almost as much flavor as a strip steak, almost as much tenderness as a filet,” and the dover sole is “unfussied” and “delicate.” The rest of the pastas are too al dente, but he’s impressed by the spaghetti alla chitarra and recommends you order the sorrentino and cannoli for dessert. [Bloomberg]

Sifton Praises Danji; Cuozzo Disappointed by Casa Nonna