Robert Sietsema at Man'ouChe; Lauren Shockey at Spasso
Steve Cuozzo is mostly taken with La Silhouette, where "magic unspools nightly. ... [T]he main draw is executive chef David Malbequi, who commands the increasingly fluid boundary between updated French and modern-American."
Adam Platt doles out single stars to both Desmond's ("Decent is as good an adjective as any to describe most of the food at this inoffensive, slightly pricey new midtown restaurant") and Graffit ("many of [Jesús Núñez's culinary] experiments seemed to be colored in hues of beige or swampy green").
Ryan Sutton is not so impressed with Alex Stupak's Empellon: "I'll support Stupak's intransigence -- just as soon as he starts making better food. ... Right now, it's a work in progress."
Mari Uyehara takes in four new Queens restaurants, giving props to Salt & Fat and Queens Kickshaw, but not so much to Queens Comfort and Pachanga Patterson.
Tables for Two is charmed by What Happens When: "The concept is a simple stroke of genius, the brainchild of the chef John Fraser, of Dovetail, and a team of artists and designers: set up shop in a space with an expiration date (the building is slated for demolition in November) and live like there's no tomorrow."
Gael Greene raves over Coppelia: "I won't say you can't stay on your diet here. Certainly you don't need to order nachos, the luscious yucca rellena croquette oozing cheese and beef picadillo (just $2.25) or 'Pan Frances,' challah French toast with bananas and dulce de leche. There's flounder seviche, an organic turkey burger, a chicharrón-free salad, and salmon with boniato purée, if you must."
The Metromix editors can't vouch for Mr. Robata: "Mr. Robata earns points for effort, but it often gets carried away by its own inventiveness, resulting in fussy, busy dishes that can either overwhelm, disappoint or repulse."
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