The Other Critics

Steve Cuozzo Predicts Romera’s Downfall; Lauren Shockey on Two New Banh Mi Specialists

Ryan Sutton writes that at Takashi, “where diners squirt cow brains out of toothpaste tubes, you might have to wait 4 1/2 hours for a table.” So is it worth it? Sutton calls the Japanese barbeque cuisine “unparalleled in its breadth of bovine off-cuts.” Try the “chewy and delicious” Tongue Experience, or the shank, which Sutton dubs “required eating.” [Bloomberg]

Steve Cuozzo is foreshadowing the fall of “neurogastronomic” bistro Romera, noting that the basement restaurant has been “lonely,” and adding that “[s]everal well-known chefs say they’ve been approached about taking over the space.” Cuozzo writes that the “insanely expensive” $125 and up prix fixe menu, and “awful-tasting” flavored waters may have contributed to Romera’s pitfalls. [NYP]

“Tables for Two” steps into Brooklyn’s Battersby this week, where the restaurant’s four-course dinner menu changes on a day-to-day basis. “To turn out anything beyond buffalo wings in a space this small is remarkable,” writes Amelia Lester, “that the food is this good makes it all the more so.” She enjoyed the Triggerfish with an aromatic vegetable broth, which she called “the hit of the night,” as well as the “already Yelp-famous” puréed potatoes. [NYer]

Ligaya Mishan visits authentic Thai spot, Ngam, for this week’s $25 and Under pick. At Ngam, the “food is not pure Thai, the kind you find in the firepots of Woodside, Queens,” writes Mishan. Instead, “it takes Western notions about food and accommodates them, while staying true to the Thai palate.” The rustic chicken soup is “clear and consoling,” but you can skip the corn chowder, which “bears little resemblance to its namesake.” The critic’s pick? The “whole branzino (market price), deep-fried and curled on the plate as if biting its own tail.” [NYT]

Pete Wells takes a table at Tribeca’s Jungsik, where, unlike other Korean restaurants in town, “the food is plated, and plated with a vengeance, with bits of this and that marching in neat, colorful chorus lines across expansive white plates.” Regarding the upscale cooking and over-the-top service, Wells writes, “In the shadows of refinement, though, lurk dullness and pretension, and Jungsik sometimes slips into one or the other.” [NYT]

Robert Sietsema visits Chinese spot Coluck, a hidden and unmarked eatery in the Chinatown Arcade. After a series of visits and a number of “strange” dishes, Sietsema comes to the conclusion that “they’ll feed you cheaply and copiously with foods that seem like a merging of neighborhood Chinese and the cooking of a culinarily challenged English mom who, strapped for time, pulls a box of prefab something or other out of the pantry.” [VV]

Lauren Shockey stops into two banh mi joints this week: Sao Mai and Xe May. “While Sao Mai dishes up the classics, the tiny Xe May Sandwich Shop, a few blocks away on St. Marks Place, is decidedly 21st century.” At Soa Mai, “get down with the grilled chicken ($12), super moist and singing with carbonized char,” she writes. And at Xe May, “the most intriguing menu items? The banh mi tacos ($2.50).” [VV]

Steve Cuozzo Predicts Romera’s Downfall; Lauren Shockey on Two New Banh Mi