Pamplona’s New Brunch Skips Bloody Marys for Potent Wine-Coke MixtureWe probably won’t be taking advantage of Pamplona’s just-introduced brunch (the place’s funereal color scheme might drive us to suicide on a hung-over Sunday), but we’ll say this: Make-your-own-tortillas beats make-your-own-omelettes any day (as the Times recently pointed out, starch-eating was crucial to our evolution, so bring on the patatas), and this is the only brunch offering a burger made from chorizo, suckling pig, and beef (trust us, it’s a beast). What really has us saying “Olé,” though, is the calimocho, the Spanish gambero’s (no-good teenager) cocktail of choice: half wine, half Coke. Williamsburgers can find this sangria-like libation at Zipi Zape — just be warned that drinking it in front of a wine purist is like eating, well, a suckling-pig burger in front of a PETA member.
Pamplona brunch menu
The Annotated Dish
Pamplona’s Supersoft Poached Salmon (and Ultracrispy Skin)Alex Ureña made his name as one of the city’s few modern Spanish cooks, but like most so-called “molecular gastronomists” he found little favor with the city’s tastemakers. His recently reconceived restaurant skews more populist, and a popular dish at Pamplona is this poached salmon with blood sausages. “With Spanish food,” Ureña says, “you sometimes have to think whether it’s going to work here or not.” This one does. As always, mouse over the different elements of the dish to hear them described in the chef’s own words.
The Other Critics
Bruni Closes the Book on Tailor; Allen & Delancey Gets Good, Not Great, NoticesBruni waited to be the last one to pronounce on Tailor, and his review pretty much recapitulates, albeit in wittier prose and with some much-appreciated Grub Street love, what everyone else has said: erratic brilliance, wee portions, and a killer cocktail program. The result: one star. [NYT]
Allen & Delancey keeps impressing the critics, at least with chef Neil Ferguson’s meat mastery. His fish, though, is strictly from hunger, according to Restaurant Girl. [NYDN]
Randall Lane offers one of his most thoughtful and precise reviews of Allen & Delancey, finding fault only in flavor balances and the fact that the place has to close up at midnight. [TONY]
The Other Critics
Pamplona Given a New Lease on Life; Bobo Hit HardAlex Ureña’s somewhat mainstreamed restaurant, Pamplona, earns the catchall two-star rating from Frank Bruni — a great victory for them, since it legitimizes the restaurant and puts it on the solid footing it desperately needed. Bruni doesn’t sound especially impressed, however: “His best dishes are more than memorable enough to redeem Pamplona’s shortcomings.” Well, that’s good! [NYT]
Critics tend to like writing about restaurants that fail badly in one way (such as the food) while succeeding in another, less important way (such as the room). That disjunction gives Danyelle Freeman free rein to jump with both feet onto Bobo. [NYDN]
Randall Lane checks in on the two newly opened Mexican restaurants, Toloache and Los Dados and likes them both okay, but he has changed his ways and is now throwing around stars like they were manhole covers: three (of six) for Toloache, home of the famous grasshopper taco, and two for meatpacking trendhole Los Dados. [TONY]
Pamplona Debuts Lunch; Bed-Stuy Gentrifiers SlackingAstoria: Il Bambino at 34-08 31st Avenue has a new, yummy-looking menu. [Joey in Astoria]
Bedford-Stuyvesant: The area’s gentrification isn’t happening fast enough, as illustrated by such dining options as standard-issue Indian and spit-out sushi. [Eat for Victory/VV]
East Village: A new spot called Senor Pollo will open on First Avenue at 13th Street. [Eater]
Midtown: L’Impero has started Sunday suppers, homey four-course meals featuring more rustic cooking than you would usually find on the menu, from 4:30 to 9:30, for $42 a person. [Grub Street]
Murray Hill/Kips Bay: Pamplona is now open for lunch and serving plates of truffle-oil-poached egg on white-asparagus salad, not to mention confit of suckling pig with caramelized apples. [Grub Street]
Soho: Bun opens October 29, and 4-Foodies is hosting an event on the 30th with a chance to sample a variety of the dishes including short ribs wrapped on lemongrass skewers and Berkshire belly with nem sausage. [Grub Street]
In the Magazine
Go Around the World Without Leaving New York
This week’s issue, appropriately, spans the globe. The foodie’s guide to traveling tells you where to eat in vacation spots from Taipei to the Berkshires, but really, there’s no need for you to even leave town. Adam Platt is turning Japanese (we really think so) with a double review of Soto and BarFry; Gael Greene stops into Pamplona to run with Alex Ureña’s newly mainstreamed cuisine; and Rob and Robin (in a new feature called “Tools of the Trade”) describe in detail the secrets of a new oven brought over from Italy to Una Pizza Napoletana. Meanwhile, grapes and white truffles abound, there are two restaurants on Avenue B, and all is good with the world, or at least our little corner of it in New York.
The Other Critics
Gemma Rewarded for Its Calculations; Tailor Makes a FanFrank Bruni, surprisingly grants Gemma a single star. Bruni sees the place as a slicker, less technically accomplished Morandi — an insta-enoteca calculated to the nth degree to please modern middlebrows. Which, we guess, is worth a single star these days. [NYT]
Ryan Sutton is, as usual, the first to review Tailor, which he finds a molecular wonderland of trippy but delicious foods: exactly what a certain kind of restaurantgoer needs to hear to get the buzz going. [Bloomberg]
Moira Hodgson thinks that Alex Ureña’s new direction at Pamplona — modern, imaginative Spanish cookery minus the bells and whistles — is exactly what he needed and rewards him with two stars. “So this is bistro food? I don’t care what he calls it, it’s great.” [NYO]
In the Magazine
This Week’s Issue Is All About Simplicity
The food news in this week’s issue concerns the simple, the elegant, and the obvious. A guy in Brooklyn tries to raise his food in his backyard. Adam Platt respondes to locavore earnestness by battening down with a box of Oreos. Two Italian restaurants have opened with unambitious, utterly familiar menus, and he likes one of them, Bar Stuzzichini, more than the other, Gemma, which was lucky to escape with a single star. Another Italian restaurant, Accademia di Vino, specializes in grilled pizza, good pasta, and lots of wine, which pleases the Insatiable Critic. In this week’s Openings, Alex Ureña gives up on foam, and another guy in Brooklyn opens a sandwich shop highlighted by a turkey sandwich with potato chips in it. Resto chef Ryan Skeen enjoyed the onion and tomato app at Peter Luger, and the bacon too, so he thought to make a recipe out of all three for In Season. And finally, the city gets three new choices for the age-old conundrum “coffee, tea, or milk.” It’s that kind of week at New York.
Mario Batali, Food Network Split; Vermin at Da Silvano and Peter LugerThe Food Network dumps Mario Batali, and he dumps Iron Chef America in return. [NYP]
Da Silvano‘s media connections won’t keep rat spottings out of the news as Inside Edition will air footage of the vermin tonight alongside similarly damning video of both Peter Luger and Blue Ribbon. [Eater]
“Nobody at the Bryant Park tents has to starve, sleep or stay sober” during fashion week thanks to sponsorships including Eleni’s cookies, Nespresso, and most importantly the entire Spanish wine region of Rioja. [NYDN]