Primehouse’s Steak Saves Its Star; BarFry BlastedThe best steaks at Primehouse NY are good enough to earn a single star from Frank Bruni — which is saying something, given that he had problems with service, didn’t like the other entrées, and even found the rib eyes to be less than they ought to be. But the Creekstone strips carried the day, as they always do. [NYT]
The small, porky tapas at Jason Neroni’s Cantina seem to impress Robert Sietsema, but his review leaves you with the sense that, croquettes aside, the place is still a work-in-progress. [VV]
Paul Adams dines at Smith’s and praises the rich, possibly too rich, appetizers, while frowning over some of the mains. But on the whole he likes the place: “Some dishes are excessive by design, others poorly executed in the heat of the dinner rush, and a few, like the pasta, remarkably good and worthy of a return visit — perhaps after the first wave of crowds has moved on.” [NYS]
Holiday High Tea Returns to Midtown East; Avenue B New Dining HotbedDumbo: An Eva Solo Oil/Vinegar Bottle, from Tivoli Home on 111 Front Street, made this list of gifts available in the neighborhood. [Dumbo NYC]
East Village: Avenue B “has developed a thriving restaurant scene” now that Back Forty has joined the ranks of classics 26 Seats and Max. Even if there were tumbleweeds at Cantina the other night. [NYT] Food critic David Rosengarten has named Il Buco his pick for restaurant of the year in his weekly e-zine called Tastings. They do have great gift-worthy chandeliers. [Grub Street]
Midtown East: The Four Seasons is serving high tea with a view of its lobby’s 24-foot Christmas tree from 3 to 5 p.m. daily until December 29. [Zagat]
West Village: Little owl chef Joey Campanaro created this recipe for spinach gnocchi with pancetta beurre noisette and chanterelles. [Restaurant Girl]
A Nearly Full House at Momofuku, But Tumbleweeds at CantinaYou’re a brave soul if you plan on checking out that new East Village or Lower East Side restaurant this weekend — if it’s full-up, you’ll be turned onto the streets with the entire teenage population of Strong Island. That’s why last Saturday we hit eight spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to take inventory — our head counts may or may not hold true this weekend when there will be far less drunken Santas running amok, but we’re pleased to see that the wait has lessened at Momofuku (in fact, there wasn’t one!) and are a bit shocked to discover that Jason Neroni is sometimes pretty much the only person in the dining room at Cantina. Bet he’s counting the seconds till 10 Downing.
Back of the House
Jason Neroni Rumored to Be Cooking at 10 DowningWhen we spotted him cooking in Cantina’s tiny kitchen, Jason Neroni wouldn’t clue us into his future plans. Now Gawker brings word that he may be moving to Stephane Dorian’s 10 Downing, where Scott Bryan was the head chef. If it’s true, we bet Neroni will appreciate the extra legroom in the kitchen.
Rumors: Is Jason Neroni Off to 10 Downing? [Gawker]
Earlier: Jason Neroni Spotted in Cantina’s Kitchen, ‘America’s Most Wanted’ Not Called
Back of the House
Jason Neroni Spotted in Cantina’s Kitchen, ‘America’s Most Wanted’East Village hot-spot-in-the-making Cantina is the work of many Jasons. First there’s honcho Swamy, former owner of Movida. Then there’s designer Volenec, who also did Allen and Delancey and has worked with Serge Becker. And finally there’s consulting chef Neroni. Sure, we poked fun at Neroni during his brush with the law, but given the quality of his tasting menu’s pork shoulder dulce de leche (the full menu rolls out November 1, with beer and wine, brunch, and delivery to follow), we were glad to see him in Cantina’s three-by-four open kitchen rather than a jail cell (the jail cell probably would’ve been more spacious, but not as romantically lit). As soon as he put his knife down, we asked him what became of his beef with Porchetta, and where he’s been since then.
Socialite Tamsin Lonsdale’s Supper Club Probably Doesn’t Want YouWhile the Post ran a story yesterday focusing on Homeslice West’s secret dinners in Upper West Side apartments, the dinner-club scene is going to get a lot glitzier when Brit socialite Tamsin Lonsdale brings her London “supper club” to New York. Ahead of a launch party later this month, Lonsdale has already held recruiting dinners at Indochine, La Esquina, and Gemma — with more planned at Palma and the new Cantina. At the dinners, current members have entertained friends who might be willing to pay a $750 fee to be invited to what a spokesman (yes, a dinner club has hired a PR firm) tells us will eventually be twelve events a month (some of them requiring purchase of additional tickets).