Dine with Descartes at Le Philosophe; Lots of Tongue at Bar Corvo
Our own Robert Sietsema stumbles upon the new and under publicized Noho bistro, Le Philosophe, and finds that it's a "wonderful place." He writes in his review of Le Philosophe that a slightly grayish "mural depicting dozens of philosophers" looms behind diners in the candlelit space. But he barely notices the other people as he feasts on "roast chicken your mom would be proud of," "fois gras tourchon," and other excellent French standards. "Call it haute cuisine lite," Sietsema suggests.
Village Voice Bar Corvo
Also at The Voice, Tejal Rao checks in at Bar Corvo, a year-old sleeper in Crown Heights. She writes in her review of Bar Corvo that the charming, neighborhood spot is "no clone" of sister restaurant Al Di La, but rather, "it's a funny little place" that specializes in intelligent Italian food. "Rich, hefty batons of beef tongue battered and fried...arrive with a creamy horseradish dip," Rao writes, noting that the satisfying dish is a "whole lot of tongue." She also notes that waiting nearly 45 minutes for the "salty, golden [roast chicken] lounging on a bed of braised onions and garlic," is worth it.
The Times critic, Pete Wells, finds himself in Kentucky by way of Gramercy Park at Maysville, the restaurant named for the Southern state's bourbon. Wells enjoys a "compelling" rendition of poached eggs over grits, as well as an "exceptional" and not at all bagel garnish-like smoked whitefish spread. Wells writes that the kitchen "nailed the nuances," -- a "scant shaving" of fois gras here, crispy curls of potato skin there -- which should be expected from chef Kyle Knall, formerly of Gramercy Tavern. Wells awards the restaurant two stars.
NY Mag's Adam Platt is surprised by the elevated execution at Aska, the new "Brooklyn-style" Scandinavian restaurant at Kinfolk Studios in Williamsburg. Ambitious diners should opt for the seasonal tasting menu, which features ingredients like "rose hips, curls of lichen, and knobs of root vegetables," all of which "the chefs proudly cultivate in the kitchen in a little brass pot." The tiny dining space is "more sophisticated than it seems," and chef Frederik Bersellius's food is "as close as you're likely to get, in this cosmopolitan town, to the kind of unreconstructed locavore cuisine that [is found] in the northern wilds of Sweden." The restaurant receives two stars.
The Post's, Steve Cuozzo is shocked to discover that the Redeye Grill has undergone a "sweeping transformation without a whiff of publicity." The new look, call it "classic", gives way to a streamlined menu of shellfish platters and steakhouse chops. Cuozzo applauds the Midtown restaurant's thoughtful changes.
Michael Kaminer, at the Daily News, samples Andrew Carmellini's "safe but solid" menu at The Library at The Public. The critic enjoys the simplicity of dishes like Catskill Mountain trout, but finds true beauty in the "humble sounding" but outstanding medley of pickled vegetables.
Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton visits uber-trendy West Village sushi joint, Chez Sardine, where "the chefs stop and clap in unison when Hall & Oats comes over the sound system." The restaurant scoffs at traditional omakase conformity and specializes in owner Gabe Stulman's brand of downtown cool kid style. Sutton suggests ordering the excellent and "perfectly sauced" nigiri, which are "better than any he's had at Blue Ribbon."
Chez Sardine lives up to its name and really packs 'em in this week -- Time Out's Jay Cheshes also visits the West 10th Street restaurant. Cheshes is won over by the impressive, self-taught skills of Mehdi Brunet-Benkritly, noting that, "the chef's edgier sushi creations are a more significant departure from the ancient art form he's messing with." The dining experience is filled with "off-kilter electricity," and the critic favors the whole "looney risk" of a restaurant.
At the New Yorker, Shauna Lyon visits Ngam, the East Village Thai restaurant helmed by chef/owner Hong Thaimee. Though many of the dishes like Chiang Mai fries and braised hung lay short ribs are "addictive," they are outshone by the sweetly kitschy flourishes (like a "light bulb-studded LOVE sign") that decorate the walls.