The Other Critics

Square Peg Scores a Single Bell; Diving Horse Is ‘Avalon’s Best’

• Despite “high expectations” for Matt Levin, a chef whom he’s perviously awarded three and four bells at Lacroix and Adsum, Craig LaBan finds his menu at Square Peg continues the arc from “gastro wunderkind to junk-food savant.” “Brief-but-satisfying glimpses of his culinary finesse” are found in the restaurant’s grilled salmon over horseradish crème fraîche, “comfortingly soft and complex” meat loaf, and fried chicken tacos with kimchi and black pepper caramel, but in the end, it was “poor execution that’s uncharacteristic of a Levin kitchen,” and “just bad ideas” that kept the review from rising above single dinger status. [Inquirer]

• For New Jersry Monthly Adam Erace checks out Pub & Kitchen’s “donwnashore” offshoot Diving Horse. There he finds “it’s easy to appreciate the chef’s [Jonathan Adams] light, summery cooking” with dishes like “impeccable mussels steamed simply with tomato and corn,” and a “duo of seared yellowfin tuna and braised pork belly served over lemony artichoke purée.” On the other hand, “watery watermelon gazpacho” and oil-poached tuna with “Nicoise elements” were “downright bores.” All told, he call’s the restaurant “Avalon’s best” and “one of the better specimens at the Shore.” [NJ]

Square Peg Scores a Single Bell; Diving Horse Is ‘Avalon’s