The Other Critics

Ryan Sutton Mixed on Saxon + Parole; Pete Wells Loves Italian at Il Buco Alimertari and Vineria

Ryan Sutton has mixed impressions of Saxon + Parole, and writes that it’s “where New Yorkers become unwitting participants in blind beverage tastings,” adding “You become suspicious when they don’t even offer a standard taste before making you buy one of those wallet drainers.” “Order a $14 Four Graces pinot noir for some acid balance,” he suggests, “or muscle up and knock back a spicy Manhattan on draught and the $18 burger.” Regarding the Blue Point oysters, he says, “you might find yourself grinding bits of shell and sand.” [Bloomberg]

Steve Cuozzo is unimpressed by Bowery Diner, where he says, “A huge wall photo shows an old subway car being dumped into the sea,” adding, “Better they deep-six the menu, which mingles burgers and whelks.” He continues, “Although pricier than a true diner, the lineup’s at least reasonable enough. And straightforward desserts hit the spot — sweet, unpretentious and perfectly turned out, especially crisp-crusted cherry pie. But they’re too few, too late.” [NYP]

Pete Wells calls Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria “New York’s most complete realization so far of a powerful myth: the simple and convivial spot that tastes just like Italy,” adding, “there were a dozen little tastes that made me fall for this restaurant.” He continues by saying, “The work they are doing now, […] is the kind of exceptional reward Manhattan bestows on people who are stubborn, tireless and have the right timing.”

Julia Moskin visits the recently opened Machiavelli, which she says “is like visiting a museum of Italian food — complete with long-winded exhibition catalogs.” She notes, “It’s possible to have a lovely evening and a very good meal here,” but adds, “With high prices across the board, it’s equally possible to leave feeling underwhelmed by bland food and listless servers.” [NYT]

Robert Sietsema also stops into Bowery Diner this week, where he says “the menu’s bedrock is seven hamburgers, priced about twice what you’d expect to pay in a diner. Nevertheless, the hamburger deluxe ($14) is opulently good.” He also prefers the French onion soup ($9), but calls the clam chowder “less satisfactory.” [VV]

Ryan Sutton Mixed on Saxon + Parole; Pete Wells Loves Italian at Il Buco