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Restaurant Reviews 5.5.10

June 13, 2010 by admin  
Filed under Food News

Thin-crust pizzas at Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria                  Photo by Tom White for The New York Times

Sam Sifton of the New York Times and Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle aren’t the only restaurant critics food lovers should be reading on a weekly basis. Each Wednesday, we’ll post links to noteworthy reviews from critics across the country. This week, Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria in N.Y.C., R2L in Philly, and more.

New York Times
Restaurant: Pulino’s
Verdict: New York City restauranteur and this year’s James Beard Outstanding Restaurateur Award Keith McNally (Balthazar, Pastis, Minetta Tavern) has “introduced or enhanced neighborhoods all over downtown [Manhattan].” His latest “insanely crowded Pulino’s Bar & Pizzeria on a formerly moribund corner of the Bowery and East Houston Street…is not really a pizzeria, nor a bar. It is a restaurant, a good one.” Chef Nate Appleman’s of San Francisco’s A16 cooking is “simple and brash, as American as it is inflected with Italian flavors, rustic in the sense that it comes out of smoky, wood-assisted ovens, and urban for the very same reason.” Order the “nightly specials, where Mr. Appleman tacks away from Mr. McNally’s haute comfort-food groove and makes the food better than it needs to be” and fazzoletti – “the sort of dish you go to sleep thinking about, dreaming about, and wake up desiring.” And while the restaurant “can be punishingly loud”, “service has the practiced excellence of first-class air travel or Parisian bistros.” 1 out of 4 stars.

Philadelphia magazine
Restaurant: R2L
Verdict: “Onetime wunderkind of Le Bec-Fin” Daniel Stern – who also opened MidAtlantic this year – wants “to pay homage to classic American cooking, and to create a kind of public cocktail party” with whimsical versions of pigs in a blanket and cocktail reubens and classics like surf-and-turf and roast chicken at his R2L, “perched on the 37th floor of Two Liberty Place.” However, “the food itself fades into the background”, namely the “Art Deco, mod and ’80s design elements…splashy enough to be noticed even within the sparkling, panoramic views.” Missteps in the kitchen – “a frustration when you know the kind of talent that’s present in the kitchen” – and “erratic” service give R2L:
Food: B
Service: C+
Vibe: A
Atlanta magazine
Restaurant: Vingenzo’s
Verdict: In “one of the slowest years in the last two decades for ambitious, independent Atlanta restaurant openings…an exuberant meal can help lift intown dining doldrums” but you’ll have to go thirty miles north of downtown Atlanta to the small town of Woodstock. Vingenzo’s wood-fired Neopolitan-style pizzas are “sensational” – “for local pizza aficionados, I’d say the crust more resembles the style of Varasano’s or Fritti than the voluptuously lipped pies at Antico.” The menu also includes homemade specialties like pastas (and gluten-free pies and pastas), mozzarellas, and gelato from New York native Michael Bologna. 2 out of 4 stars.
Portland magazine (Oregon)
Restaurant: Lovely’s Fifty-Fifty
Verdict: Following up the close of Lovely Hula Hands, Lovely Fifty-Fifty may be “a departure from [fine-dining] Lovely Hula Hands’ rustic American focus, but the menu’s raison d’être remains the same: to serve up inspired, seasonal fare with a delicate touch.” Wood-fired pizzas “of perfectly blistered dough sprinkled with fresh, locally sourced toppings” and homemade ice cream ” is a killer combination that promises a delicious future.”

Villeroy & Boch Tableware

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