NYT Critics’ Picks: Restaurants on Flipboard

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Restaurant Review: Little Park in TriBeCa

It is as colorful and otherworldly as a coral reef, this row of fried cauliflower knobs in purple, ivory and marigold yellow. Wrapping each floret is a pale-gold skin of batter. It’s almost invisible, but you feel it as you bite, its soft snap reinforced by the full-on crunch of chopped pistachios. …


In Curry Hill, a New Kid on the Block

On the menu it is called an egg roll, but what arrives looks more like an elongated turnover, with squared-off ends as sharp as hospital corners. The crepelike wrap is crisp but doesn’t crackle, so that all the attention goes to the interior: lamb minced fine but still juicy and shot through with …

New Kid on the Block

Restaurant Review: Eleven Madison Park in Midtown South

Can a restaurant still succeed when it fails at what it says it wants to do?

This is not a question critics ask every day. But then the place in question, Eleven Madison Park, is not a restaurant where most of us would or could eat every day.

This, in fact, is one of the sticky issues raised by the …


Restaurant Review: Bowery Meat Company in the East Village

I’m starting to worry about the steakhouse.

It used to be a rock of stability. The shifting winds of fashion did not bend it. Its basic formula was so firmly set that you could go to a steakhouse in San Bernardino and then one in Baltimore and have the same meal without looking at the menu.

Now …


Restaurant Review: Via Carota in the West Village

Hanging from Via Carota’s ceiling, menacing a large farmhouse table that had been surrounded by smiling customers just a few minutes earlier, was a row of long iron spikes, bent into hooks at their ends. They’d been retrofitted with light bulbs to make a functional if terrifying chandelier, but …


Opening Oaxaca to the World

The meatball is burly but yields in an instant, spilling its secret: a whole green olive, buried at the center. The olive is a small, powerful thing, radiating salt and vinegar, almost pickling the meat from the inside, transfiguring it.

This is but one surprise at La Morada, a Mexican restaurant in …


Restaurant Review: Semilla in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

I came up with my nature-preserve theory of tasting menus while eating a cabbage sandwich at Semilla, a new restaurant in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, across the street from Jack’s Cancellation Shoes and Rachel’s Corset Discount Center (“specializing in hard to fit sizes”).

Semilla had taken two cabbage …


Restaurant Review: Shuko in the East Village

“You like spicy?” Jimmy Lau asked from behind the counter at Shuko, the new restaurant just below Union Square where he and his partner, Nick Kim, prepare an elevated and memorable species of Japanese food. Before I could answer, he handed me a spicy tuna roll that would casually knock over my …


Plantains, Top to Bottom

The cachapa is enormous even flopped in on itself, a thick pancake of ground sweet corn with whole kernels peeking through. Inside is mozzarella, caught mid-ooze, and two bands of double-smoked bacon, each as broad as a strop, juicy with brine and curling black at the edges. No distinction is …


Restaurant Review: Kao Soy in Red Hook, Brooklyn

Only half of the tables inside Kao Soy were taken, but the delivery guys were coming and going through the door on Van Brunt Street every few minutes. The December wind off the harbor that was shaking the little brick buildings in Red Hook, Brooklyn, was keeping everybody at home, ordering pad see …


The Earth and Heat of Nigeria

“You don’t eat, we fight,” said the woman who had brought out the heaping platter, hands on hips. Then she leaned forward and gently folded up the ends of my sweater sleeves, which were drooping dangerously close to the food. “So they don’t get dirty,” she said, before disappearing into the kitchen.


Restaurant Review: Cosme in the Flatiron District

A woman I once worked with had a facility for languages that was matched by her self-assurance. The rest of us had a hard time keeping track of her various proficiencies, and one time we asked her to remind us whether she knew Chinese.

“Oh, I would love to learn Chinese,” she said. “But I just don’t …


Restaurant Review: Blue Smoke and North End Grill

If you hooked a seismograph to Danny Meyer’s Union Square Hospitality Group, the readout for most of the last two decades would be boringly predictable. Regular spikes would indicate the orderly arrival of restaurants, with just a few aberrant tremors here and there: the closure of Tabla and, very …


A Buffet of Filipino Specialties

Fish are stacked on the glass over the steam table, fried whole without interfering batter, all crackly veneer and quick-tearing flesh. There are galunggong, like swollen cigars with the flavor of a shyer mackerel; pompano in puckering silver; and, best of all, bangus (pronounced ban-GOOSE), or …


Are Those Steel Drums I Hear?

There is no grill on a sawed-off oil drum, no lick of breeze or view of the sea in sun-shocked blue. But behind the frosted windows of LoLo’s Seafood Shack, which opened in Harlem in October, the extemporaneous spirit of the lolo — the kind of open-air barbecue joint found on the beaches and …

West Indies

Answering the Call of Friends

It’s only at the end that the blood is tipped in, just before the bowl of num tok — an opaque, nearly black Thai noodle soup — is brought to the table. This is time enough for the blood to disperse in the broth and lose its drawn-sword tang. What I tasted was more elliptical: salt, minerals, a …

Ice Cream

Restaurant Review: Upland on Park Avenue South

“Go to Upland” is my current answer to anybody who asks for a good new place to eat in Manhattan. It will probably remain my answer for some time. The recommendation is the same for fetishists who unwind by reconstructing recipes from the court of Catherine de Medici as for parishioners in the …


Restaurant Review: Botequim in the East Village

Restaurants hide in all kinds of ways. There is the coy, unmarked-door hiding of the neo-speakeasy. There is the romantic hiding of restaurants whose positioning at, say, the end of an alley allows men to seem clever and their dates to seem impressed. There is the snooty hiding of exclusive …


Hungry City: Sky Cafe in Elmhurst, Queens

Half the diners at Sky Cafe sip jasmine tea from juice boxes. A sign says “Dilarang Merokok,” with a cigarette crossed out. Stacked in back are plastic bins of snowball cookies melded from cashews, Edam and icing sugar; jackfruit cooked down into gummi-bear-like cakes; and deep-fried crackers …

North Sumatra

Restaurant Review: Dirty French on the Lower East Side

A new restaurant from the chefs Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone and their partner Jeff Zalaznick tiptoed onto the Lower East Side in September, demurely announcing its name with two eight-foot-high neon signs in peep-show pink. DIRTY, says one. FRENCH, reads the other.

Diners who have reservations …


Hungry City: Fitzcarraldo in East Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Music rains down from a gramophone horn hung from a ceiling that curves like a ship’s hull. Spiky ferns half-spill out of hanging baskets; peacock-blue flowered tile runs underfoot. The front wall is all window, 12 feet tall with a grid of steel, looking out on almost unrelieved darkness.

A kind of …


Restaurant Review: Bar Bolonat in the West Village

Some restaurants hit the ground at full tilt. This review concerns one of the others, a place that stumbled at the start, as ungainly as a day-old giraffe, and only recently found its footing.

Bar Bolonat opened in the West Village in March in what seemed an auspicious location, a corner spot …


Hungry City: Carnitas El Atoradero in the South Bronx

The plastic cups arrived on a terra-cotta plate, one cup filled with a pickled pig’s knuckle, another with a hank of goat sloughed off the bone and unraveling. There were sips of soup, too, shining with fat, and a dark sauce that tasted like smoke incarnate.

“Samples,” explained Denisse Lina Chavez, …

South Bronx

Restaurant Review: Dumpling Galaxy in Queens

When I am on my way to a big dinner at a restaurant in Flushing, Queens, I like to limber up by eating a dozen of Helen You’s dumplings.

For the last eight years, Ms. You has been the chef and proprietor of the Tianjin Dumpling House, which is not so much a house as a narrow shaft of elbow room …


Hungry City: Hard Times Sundaes in Mill Basin, Brooklyn

It was high noon at Hard Times Sundaes, a food truck parked behind a Walgreen’s in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, and the gas wasn’t on. “Can you give me a minute?” asked Andrew Zurica, the owner, cook and lone employee. Carrying a propane tank in one hand, he sprinted to Home Depot.

Behind the truck, the …


Restaurant Review: Tuome in the East Village

Look inside the head of a bright young chef and you’ll see a beehive of swarming ideas, a few of them just hatched and others that buzzed in from somewhere else. It can take time to sort out which are borrowed and which have the sting of the new.

Thomas Chen, fresh from the trenches at Eleven …


Restaurant Review: Blue Hill in Greenwich Village

Halfway through dinner at Blue Hill, my server presented me with two squashes. One was the common football-size butternut that weighs down shopping bags at this time of year. The other had the same shape but was about as big as a sparrow. I held it in my palm. It felt good in there. Without …


Shedding the Burden of Tradition

If you remember David Waltuck’s cooking at Chanterelle, eating at his new restaurant, Élan, can be a little unnerving. Chanterelle, a downtown pioneer when it opened in 1979, was an institution by the time it went out of business, just a few months short of its 30th anniversary.

Like all …


The Comfort of Her Embrace

It must be a Friday or a Saturday, from April to October, after 10 p.m. — the later the better — and still you may not find her, Maria Piedad Cano, the once and future Arepa Lady of Jackson Heights, Queens.

For more than two decades, she has parked her cart among the late-night roisterers of …