Robert Sietsema at Deccan Spice; Tejal Rao at the Penrose
Robert Sietsema heads over to Jersey City's Little India for Deccan Spice. The menu sports unique offerings like goat brains and intestines. There's a fair number of egg dishes too -- rare for a northern India restaurant: "My favorite is Sultani Egg Masala, named after the residents of a town in northwestern India. It immerses boiled eggs in an onion gravy so good, you'll mop up every trace with the bread you need to order as a side."
Tejal Rao checks in at the Penrose, a new watering hole that opened in June. The food is mostly fried and comes from a "small menu of cleaned-up pub standards." There's a beef sandwich with meat that has been cured for a month and the wedge salad "was an icebox cold, umami-rich throwback, scattered generously with bacon." But the food, Rao says, is besides the point: "The later it gets at the Penrose, the faster it devolves from cute gastropub to grimy singles bar."
Pete Wells awards two stars to Jean-Georges's Nougatine. Wells is impressed by the decor but states that the menu isn't far from what, he presumes, Vongerichten might cook at home: "If the weather was hot, he might cut open a watermelon, whittle it down to cubes, arrange them in a circle like a pink Stonehenge, and scatter white fluffs of goat cheese all around."
Jay Cheshes says that Governor might actually be too ambitious. The menu is eclectic to the extreme: "Steak tartare on tapioca chips with mussel emulsion is an oddball surf and turf that actually works, the essence of the bivalve adding an umami grace note to the hand-chopped sirloin."
Adam Platt tries out Rosemary's and is impressed by the state-of-the-art roof garden upstairs. The food, however, is just not prosaic enough: "With the exception of a couple of robust "to share" dishes, most of the entrées (a watery vegetable soup, pork tenderloin, that old rustico standby brick-flattened chicken) seem to have been designed with a kind of slapdash expediency in mind." One star.
Stan Sagner files in a report for Do or Dine in Brooklyn and notes that the Justin Warner, the Food Network Star, works both the kitchen and front of the house. Sagner is a fan of the foie gras doughnut: "Presumably snatched from the evil fictional fingers of Mr. Bunce in Roald Dahl's 'Fantastic Mr. Fox,' the dish had me scratching my head at first. It sounded, frankly, awful. Then came a piping hot classic Berliner stuffed with a plump nugget of foie gras, piped with a bit of blueberry jam and finally dusted with powdered sugar."
771 Newark Ave., Jersey City, NJ