Robert Sietsema at Sol de Quito; Lauren Shockey at Mehtaphor
Sam Sifton files on two new Indians, Tulsi and Junoon. He likes the food at Tulsi, but not the room: "Too bad, then, that Tulsi's lighting is harsh, and that the service style runs more to chain-restaurant gab than anything approaching the hushed, pajama-clad grace of Devi." Junoon gets two stars for a menu that "offers a wide-ranging examination of Indian cuisine, divided not by region but cooking style. ... It is, over all, very good."
Steve Cuozzo also visits Tulsi and is less offended by the décor: "It's exotic in a polite sort of way, as befits its UN nabe. Although we weren't quite transported by the design, the menu did the trick. Don't look for chicken tikka masala or its hackneyed ilk. [Hemant] Mathur's regional Indian-inspired creations are original, complex and steeped in powerful, mysterious curries that stay in your mind for days."
Sifton also files on Ember Room: "It's hard to know whether the missteps are the work of the oversubscribed celebrities whose names are up front (Todd English, Ian Chalermkittichai), or a kitchen staff not up to speed. But it hardly seems to matter to the customers crowding into the communal tables and shouting for more. The atmosphere is that of an amusement-park ride through Chicken Winglandia."
Sifton manages a third resto this week, David Burke Kitchen, where the chef himself was in the house and "his cooks were salting some of the food almost to the point of craziness."
Underground Gourmet reveled in Nouveau Korean at Danji: "It would seem, considering the good Thai-style chicken wings, the better Korean fried chicken wings, and the tender fried calamari with a mild wasabi mayo, that the chef has, if not a death wish for his customers, a healthy appreciation for bar food."
Ryan Sutton is thoroughly unimpressed by Del Frisco's: "A Dallas-based chain whose Midtown outpost was the country's highest-grossing steakhouse in 2010, Del Frisco's also ranks among the worst. Dinner for two can easily exceed $400 after tax and tip. ... They know New York prices here, but not New York quality."
Tables for Two finds hits and misses at Edi & the Wolf: "The spätzle is too creamy to be authentic; it's "etepetete" (translation: "fancy-pants"). As a fine Wiener schnitzel goes down quietly, the table agrees that Schlutzkrapfen, an indulgent cheese ravioli, has been unfairly encumbered with one of Mitteleuropa's least appetizing names."
Gael Greene finds no shortage of flair at David Burke Kitchen: "[Burke] has conjured up new show biz tricks, like the mad scientist percolator on a stagefront service table, in the middle of the long tunnel-room, where he reduces lobster stock that's just spilled and caught fire. Quickly, it's out."
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