The Other Critics

Sutton Mixed on Il Buco Alimentari; Wells Taken With RedFarm

Ryan Sutton is unimpressed with the service and noisy atmosphere at Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria, where he “almost walked out.” However, despite spotty service and a long wait for a table, he calls the ribs “epic,” and the pastas “Sicily in a bowl.” Sutton recommends the foie gras, quail, or fried rabbit, which he says, “requires persistent and satisfying finger licking.” [Bloomberg]

Steve Cuozzo admits that the new ACME “tastes better than most,” adding “it’s flawed but quasi-fabulous.” Acme’s tender Maine lobster “dazzled with hedgehog and black trumpet mushrooms,” writes Cuozzo, adding, “Don’t be afraid of beer and bread porridge, a bleak-sounding but sparkling affair sprinkled with nutmeg and anchored by a ball of caramel ice cream.” [NYP]

Tables for Two wines and dines at Soho’s Rouge et Blanc, where “preparation is imaginative, and presentation often exquisite.” “A mildly spiced Vietnamese sausage is loosely formed around a licorice-root stick, like an upscale corn dog,” writes Leo Carey, but “[t]he star of the show is a whole rouget, served dorsal fin upward as if the fish were still swimming.” [NYer]

Betsy Andrews checks out Brooklyn’s Pete Zaaz, where pizzas are prepared as “crazy-quilt, globalist style as No. 7’s dishes and subs.” At Pete Zaaz, the “[R]esults are smart and charming,” writes Andrews, “restless creativity means menu changes — a fairly uncommon phenomenon in a pie shop.” She recommends the Brooklyn Pizza ($13), which she calls “[A] basic but expert marriage of tangy sauce; soft, sweet house-made mozzarella; and aromatic marjoram sprigs.” [NYT]

Pete Wells loves RedFarm, where “the menu has been tailored for a Western palate, with none of the bland and slippery specialties that non-Chinese eaters find so enigmatic.” He particularly enjoys the dumplings, though he also likes “a plate of snow-pea leaves,” “the dessert of carved fruit in light ginger syrup,” and “as many glasses of water as you can manage” to balance your palate and favor-packed meal. He gives the restaurant two stars. [NYT]

Wells also samples Pok Pok Wing. “The wings ($12.49 for a full order or $7.25 for a half) seem to have an extra measure of meat on them, which makes them more filling in theory,” he writes. “But in practice, that does not stop anybody from chewing on the bones, gnawing on the crunchy wing tips and then licking the garlic, fish sauce and caramel from their fingers.” [NYT]

Robert Sietsema takes a table at Mercado on Kent, where he has mixed opinions. “If the restaurant’s menu confined itself to small dishes, it would be an unqualified triumph,” he writes. He’s not keen on Mercado’s attempt at entrées such as the chicken stew, about which he says, “I don’t care whose mother’s recipe this is — it’s not very good.” However, he does comment on the un-Basque chorizo burger ($14) served with homemade potato chips, calling it “the best entrée.” [VV]

Lauren Shockey stops into Talde, where “[A]ll the grub is served family-style on kitschy plastic plates adorned with Far Eastern motifs.” She calls the Saigon crêpes ($12) “awesomely good,” and says to “double up on shellfish with an order of the classic shrimp toast ($11).” Though she’s so-so on the fried chicken ($23) and the pork shoulder ($18), she does recommend the restaurant’s pad Thai, made with bacon and deep-fried oysters ($15). [VV]

Sutton Mixed on Il Buco Alimentari; Wells Taken With RedFarm