The Other Critics

Lauren Shockey Has Fun at the Cannibal; ‘Tables for Two’ Finds the Leopard at Des Artistes ‘Un-hatable’

Just in time for Halloween, Lauren Shockey checks out frighteningly named the Cannibal — “a bodega for trustafarian foodies.” Lunchtime sandwiches are a highlight, in particular the egg-salad version and a well-balanced Cuban. For dinner, forgo the “tempting cured meat plates” and try the sausages and pâtés: “sweet, juicy Italian links,” a “lovely” lamb-neck terrine, and the duck liver mousse with “a decadent bacon jam” (!) are the most delicious. Shockey had “the most fun,” however, when she ordered the half-pig’s-head with friends — “about as close as you can get to experiencing life as an actual cannibal.” As for the 300-plus varieties of craft beer, let “the knowledgeable (if somewhat harried) staff … guide you on the way to drunkenness.” [VV]

Ryan Sutton revisits the redesigned Le Bernardin to find “the perfect synthesis of food and style.” The “formally austere” setting is gone, replaced by “satisfyingly comfortable” combination of leather banquettes, teak panels, and a warm palette of dark brown and light metal. The food is still the star, with such highlights as a “gossamer” tuna on foie, “delicate” yellowfin with dashi, “quietly brilliant” foie and langoustine, and Ripert’s “best dish”: caviar “served over gnocchi, sea urchin and geoduck clam.” [Bloomberg]

Robert Sietsema visits Catania in Brooklyn Heights, a “snack shop” where the service is lacking and most of the entrees are misses, but many of the snacks are “deliriously good.” Caponata is a “slippery, sweet-sour” delight, and the parmigiana is a “delicate,” simple classic. However, except for a dish of sardines, “the smallish main courses are entirely forgettable,” and sandwiches and salads aren’t “worth ordering till you’re tired of ordering everything else on the menu.” [VV]

“Tables for Two” discovers that, despite the “awful name,” the Leopard at Des Artistes is a “convivial, unpretentious place … practically un-hatable.” With the Sicilian menu, “simple is better.” Burrata is “upstaged … by plain old mozzarella and tomatoes.” A dish of pappardelle and rabbit “was, surprisingly, less flavorful than pasta alla Norma.” In terms of entrees, the dorado and the “tender” veal are the winners. [NYer]
Related: More Burgers and Bourbon [NYM]

Interim critic Eric Asimov awards Salinas two stars, determining that “New York’s Spanish restaurant culture is the better for it.” “Classic, simple tapas” — from garlic bread to jamón Iberico — are “delicious” and “you can’t go wrong.” But venture out of your comfort zone a bit and you’ll be rewarded: The “cutting-edge” octopus and potatoes is “arresting.” The selection of entrees “thankfully” includes the chef’s suckling pig, a “brilliant” rosejat rápida, and a chicken dish that is “moist and delicious in a way that other chicken breasts can only envy.” Desserts are predictable but “well done,” especially “the most classic” — torrija caramelizada. [NYT]
Related: Twee It Is Not

Betsy Andrews rounds up some new establishments specializing in haute bar food. “It used to be that when you went to a bar, you got a free bowl of peanuts,” but no longer. Her favorite drink accompaniments at the Cannibal are the “gloriously juicy” boudin blanc and the “knockout” plate of corned beef tongue. Even the few “non-meat” items succeed, from the “creamy” smoked bluefish to the “delightful” curried egg toast. Eschew the big plates for the smaller, she recommends, at both this place and Park Slope’s new Blueprint, where “well-curated” meats, “handsome salads,” and a “masterful” bruschetta rule. Over at , the pop-up restaurant in a local dive bar is creating “exciting” pizzas. [NYT]

Lauren Shockey Has Fun at the Cannibal; ‘Tables for Two’ Finds the