Insieme Lauded (Except for Lasagne); Landmarc Squeaks ByThe Times finds Provence beautiful, romantic, and well-intentioned, but barely worthy of a single star. A major disappointment for the Marc Meyer/Vicki Freeman team, who had been on a roll with Five Points and Cookshop. [NYT]
In the Post, Steve Cuozzo — judiciously taking the long-term view as usual — makes the case that Amalia, FR.OG, and Insieme, “the best new Italian restaurant since L’Impero,” have overcome weak starts to become some of the city’s strongest places. [NYP]
Paul Adams gives yet another admiring review to Insieme, though he found the much-praised lasagne underflavored and disappointing. His favorite dish: a chamomile farfalle. [NYS]
Will Landmarc’s Downtown Cool Play Alongside Its Ritzy New Neighbors?
The restaurants at the Time-Warner Center were conceived as a kind of dining Valhalla: a food court of the Gods, with prices to match. But now Per Se, Masa, Café Gray, and Porter House New York are getting a downscale casual neighbor with Landmarc, which opens today. Of course, it isn’t quite accurate to cast Landmarc’s arrival as a snobs-vs.-slobs sitcom; Landmarc is both well-liked and well-respected for chef Marc Murphy’s eclectic, hearty, well-executed American dishes. And both the wine and dessert programs were always a big hit downtown. Will that translate to filling the 300 seats of the new place? Hard to say. But it won’t be for lack of accessibility: the new Landmarc will be open from 7 am to 2 am every day, and will be delivering as well. We’d like to see you get that from Per Se.
In the Magazine
Provence Opens Its Petals for Spring
Among other things, this week’s Openings brings news of the return, under Cookshop and Five Points owners Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman, of Provence, the casual French restaurant that was a West Village institution for many years. The menu (part of our immense database) is long on southern French specialties like soupe de poissons and lamb daube. Throw in an emphasis on local ingredients and it’s likely the new incarnation will be just as popular as the old one.
Openings: Provence, Resto, Gold St., Zipper Tavern
In the Magazine
This Week: Contents Under PressureThis week’s food section is all about pressure: A pastry chef has to cook every night for a president who hates pineapples and will send him packing at the first hint of progressive dessert-making; Vinh Nguyen, a first generation Vietnamese-American, rolls the dice with his Williamsburg restaurant Silent H, and, as far as Rob and Robin are concerned, comes up lucky seven; Jeffrey Chodorow, fresh off his battle with Frank Bruni and Adam Platt, opens a big new restaurant and hopes for the best; and four new restaurants open, surely hoping for the best as well. Even this week’s In Season is rife with tension, calling as it does for a delicate filleting operation that could easily destroy a beautifully roasted flounder. The New York food world is not for the faint of heart.
Five Points Owners to Transform Provence (But Still Serve Bouillabaisse)It’s always a sad day for Francophiles and nostalgists when yet another beloved old-school French restaurant shutters its doors, but in the case of Provence — which served its last bowl of bouillabaisse on Saturday — it could be a lot worse.
Vicki Freeman and Marc Meyer, the owners of Cookshop and Five Points, have taken over the space with plans to completely gut the kitchen, redo the dining room, put in a raw bar, and reopen by January as — guess what? — a nice French restaurant called Provence.