Tag Archives: Pete Wells

What Should We Expect From the Men Who Run Restaurants?

Source: Grub Street NY

For the first time in perhaps ever, male public figures feel uncomfortable, especially those in the restaurant world. In the wake of the ongoing allegations of sexual assault in the industry, they’ve received contradictory messages on the behavior we expect from them, as “leaders.” Bon Appétit pleaded

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Here’s Another Look at How Far Restaurants Go to Trick Influential Food Critics

Source: Grub Street NY

Hell hath no fury in fine dining like an executive chef with a one-star review. The Washingtonian has published a long profile of critic Tom Sietsema, less about him as the Washington Post‘s 17-year food critic than as the enemy in restaurants’ midst; it traces the craziest things …

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Times Critic Discovers That the Pool’s Renovations to the Seagram Building Violated Landmark Laws

Source: Grub Street NY

The New York Times today published restaurant critic Pete Wells’s review of the Pool, one part of the extensive revamp of the old Four Seasons space. In the review, Wells seems generally pleased with chef Rich Torrisi’s work in the kitchen — and the impressive freshness …

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Times Critic Says New York’s Best Pizza Is in New Jersey

Source: Grub Street NY

New York City has well upwards of a thousand slice shops and pizzerias, but none of them will do for New York Times‘ Pete Wells. Not, at least, when he’s on the hunt for the city’s best pizza, which he argues is actually across the Hudson River, in Jersey …

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The New York Times Just Awarded 3 Stars to a Sichuan Restaurant in Flushing

Source: Grub Street NY

During his tenure as the New York Times restaurant critic, Pete Wells has occasionally dropped by Flushing and bordering neighborhoods. He has awarded a single star to both Biang! (which later relocated to the East Village, then closed) and Dumpling Galaxy, and he gave two stars

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Finds a Slightly Muted Provence at Claudette

Source: Eater NY

claudette-cuozzo.jpgPete Wells reviews Carlos Suarez and Wade Moises‘ Provencal-inspired restaurant Claudette this week and finds a charming space, some “intelligent” salads including one of snap peas and radishes with an intriguing cumin dressing, and nods to North Africa. But, he notes: “Claudette’s exploration of Provence can be undercut by its impulse to play it safe,” as seen in a pieds paquets, sans pieds:

As a server with an oratorical flair put it, ‘we absented the feet for cleanliness of flavor.’ What we get instead are tripe-wrapped bundles of pork shoulder braised in white wine and tomatoes. Tender but polite, ...

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Has Mixed Experiences at Barchetta

Source: Eater NY

14042776854_48fafaaecd_b111.jpgPete Wells reviews David Pasternack’s Barchetta this week and finds inconsistent cooking when it comes to the restaurant’s fish dishes:

In 14 years as the chef at Esca, Mr. Pasternack has proved to be one of the city’s most resourceful and skillful seafood cooks. It goes without saying that Barchetta…is a seafood restaurant. It is a very good one at times, but not at all times. There were encouraging nights, including the one that started with raw bluefish, when I was sure that Barchetta would become one of the first places I’d send people who really love the taste ...

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells is a fan of…

Source: Eater NY

bar-primi624.jpgPete Wells is a fan of the pasta and the neighborhood hangout spirit of Andrew Carmellini‘s newest project Bar Primi. Of the 12 pasta choices, he explains, “one of them is almost certain to be exactly what you feel like eating…. For me, on almost any given night, that would be the linguine with golden bread crumbs and garlic that’s been slapped around in hot olive oil for a minute or so. For this, I paid $14 and counted myself lucky.” Verdict: Two stars. [NYT]

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Week in Reviews: A Solid Three Stars for Drew Nieporent’s Bâtard

Source: Eater NY

batard.jpgPete Wells reviews Bâtard, Drew Nieporent‘s replacement for Corton this week. He is very pleased with what Markus Glocker has to offer:

A fried zucchini flower, filled with bits of poached prawns and served with lightly candied lemon zest and whole pieces of poached lobster, was a full immersion in summer, a swim in a clear pond in the pines. A slab of octopus terrine, small circles of leg pressed together with smoky pastrami spices and dabbed with whole-grain mustard, evoked an entirely different terrain, nodding to the delicatessen, though the nuggets of braised ...

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Awards One Star to Delaware and Hudson

Source: Eater NY

delawareandhudson.jpgPete Wells files a review of Patti Jackson‘s new Williamsburg restaurant, Delaware and Hudson this week, where the four-course prix fixe menu shows elements of Italian cuisine as well as Pennsylvania Dutch.

In June, sweet pea ravioli had delicate thin-skinned wrappers, perfectly formed little flying saucers in a butter sauce with slivers of Virginia ham. Her fresh spaghetti in a quick sauce of ripe tomatoes and basil dotted with milky ricotta got the dish, which often goes wrong, exactly right. Ms. Jackson’s food doesn’t have the buzz-cut professionalism of some restaurant food, which seems to have been produced by ...

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Rumormongering: The word on lucky peach street…

Source: Eater NY

20140815MSSam1.jpgThe word on lucky peach street is that Pete Wells has been hanging around Momofuku Ssam Bar quite a bit lately. Could a re-re-review in the NY Times be order? Ssam Bar was awarded 2 stars by Frank Bruni in 2007 and upgraded to 3 stars the next year by the same reviewer. Will Pete praise or punish Saam Bar if he reviews it and will they hold on to all three stars? [EaterWire]

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Awards Noodle Hot Spot Ivan Ramen Two Stars

Source: Eater NY

ivanramen.jpgPete Wells visits the Lower East Side’s hottest noodle spot, Ivan Ramen this week. He is even more taken with some of the non-ramen dishes than with the noodles themselves:

[Ivan Orkin] makes a whacked-out vegetarian chili dog with fried tofu in place of the frank, a rich and intense stew of mushrooms and miso as the chili, and a squiggly line of American yellow mustard. (There’s no substitute for yellow mustard.) Called a Tofu Coney Island, it’s a joke that tastes great. That was true for the JFC, too: deep-fried chicken hearts and livers with a honey-mustard ...

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Awards Two Stars to Russ & Daughters Cafe

Source: Eater NY

13997813488_4538cd966b_b.jpgPete Wells files on Russ & Daughters Cafe this week, and is mostly charmed by the dressed-up, sit-down version of the Lower East Side appetizing store. But he finds the cafe at its best before dinner:

“Unlike most New Yorkers, the menu looks best by daylight. Most helpings are modest, good for noshing. Salmon roe and crème fraîche with latkes, with hard-shell exteriors and fluffy white interiors, seem like breakfast. So does the sturdy bagel chip piled up with whitefish and salmon salads and flying-fish roe infused with wasabi. At lunch the excellent cold borscht could lead up ...

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Revamps: Wong to Become Vuong in Vietnamese Transformation

Source: Eater NY

wong.jpg
[Photo: Facebook/Wong]

Simpson Wong sends word that his eponymous West Village restaurant Wong is closing for a total summer revamp. The three-year-old restaurant will close after service on July 31, and do away with its “Asian locavore” menu in favor of Vietnamese street food. The new concept, called Vuong (that’s the Vietnamese version of Wong), is slated to open in mid-September. Back in 2012 Wong had the distinction of being the very first restaurant Pete Wells reviewed for the Times, at which point the critic gave it two stars. No word yet on whether the new menu will ...

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Week in Reviews: This week Pete Wells reviews Grindhaus,…

Source: Eater NY

grindhaus.jpgThis week Pete Wells reviews Grindhaus, the Red Hook restaurant that opened this past winter after many years of delays and extensive damage from Hurricane Sandy: “It’s a place where certain flavors, like the seared foie gras with ripe strawberries in warm strawberry-rhubarb juice, or the duck breast with morels and rye berries, were so intense that I called over the server and asked for the same dish again, please.” Two stars. [NYT]

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Camera Cuisine: Pete Wells is taking a break…

Source: Eater NY

petewellsmwells-thumb.jpegPete Wells is taking a break from restaurant reviews until next week, but today he pens an essay for the Times on the effects of Instagram (and other digital photography) on restaurant dining. He declares the rise of “camera cuisine,” which “like any genre of cooking…varies widely in quality, but in its purest form it is both exquisitely photogenic and peculiarly bland and lifeless.” [NYT]

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Critical Critters: The Worst Lines of Pete Wells’s TOTG Review, With Sheep

Source: Eater NY

This week, Pete Wells files a zero-star “satisfactory” review of one of the year’s biggest restaurants, the revamped Tavern on the Green. Although the Times critic has some positive things to say about the space and the spirit of the operation, the review is filled with harsh words about Katy Sparks’s menu and the service. To soften the blow, here are the burns from the review, presented by adorable sheep:

· A Celebrity Steps Back Into the Spotlight [NYT]
· All Coverage of Critical Critters [~ENY~]

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Gives Tavern on the Green Another Goose Egg

Source: Eater NY

13884559751_a6de38be23_b.jpgPete Wells reviews the newly revamped Tavern on the Green this week, and although he very much wishes it were good, he is just as disappointed as Adam Platt and Steve Cuozzo before him:

“Prying tiny quail bones away from meat that was griddled until it was as dry as a week-old English muffin wasn’t very wonderful. Neither was the greasy scattering of mushrooms and gummy, flavorless farro strozzapreti baked under a mound of ricotta that had no idea it was supposed to act like a sauce.

The ceviches aren’t ceviches; they’re rough-sawn carpaccios of seafood covered with garnishes ...

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Rent Wars: Cuozzo Says Rent Hikes Only Kill ‘Tired Old’ Restaurants

Source: Eater NY

As the restaurant world reacts to the news that Danny Meyer will be forced to move Union Square Cafe next year, many have expressed fears that steadily increasing rents are doing permanent damage to the New York restaurant scene. But Post critic Steve Cuozzo has a different take: “Rents kill restaurant biz? no, only few tired old ones. Hello Carbone, Nakazawa, Gato, R. Georgette, La Vez, All’Onda, Cecil, Red ...

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Revisits A Voce Madison and BLT Fish

Source: Eater NY

avmadison-2014.jpgPete Wells files a double whammy this week with reviews of two veteran restaurants of the Flatiron, A Voce Madison and BLT Fish. Both restaurants received three stars from Frank Bruni in their first Times reviews, and while Wells finds that neither has stood the test of time completely, A Voce does fare better than BLT Fish. On the latter:

“[T]here are…sauces that don’t click, like the washed-out mandarin emulsion with halibut, or the dashi broth with scallops and nine kinds of mushrooms, which proved that more umami is not always the answer. There are odd ...

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Week in Reviews: Pete Wells Gives Two Stars to Bobby Flay’s Gato

Source: Eater NY

gato-review-610.jpgAs rumored, Pete Wells pays a visit to Noho hot spot Gato this week. He is pleased by Bobby Flay‘s return to the the New York restaurant scene and to the kitchen, where the celebrity chef is “really, truly working” on a regular basis:

“Rabbits have a famous love for carrots, but I’ve never seen one take to the vegetable the way Gato’s juicy braised rabbit leg takes to its carrot hot sauce, which tastes like sweet fire. Nor have I tasted a tarragon chicken in which the minty-licorice character of the herb had the flute-note brightness ...

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Rumormongering: Word on the street is that…

Source: Eater NY

12213061879563_59779ae741_b.jpgWord on the street is that Pete Wells is going to drop his review of Bobby Flay’s Noho hot spot Gato today. Platt, Cuozzo, Richman, and Sagner all liked their meals at Gato, but Ryan Sutton thought the food left something to be desired. The question here is whether Wells will give Bobby a two-star pat on the back, or if he’ll drop a one spot…or a poached goose egg. Remember: The last time he reviewed a showy restaurant from a Food Network chef, things did not go so well. Place your bets on ...

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Week in Reviews: Wells Gives Three Stars to The Simone on 82nd Street

Source: Eater NY

2014_the_simone_123.jpgThis week, Pete Wells discovers a six-month-old establishment that has the feel of a “classic Manhattan restaurant.” Its name is The Simone, and it has zero web presence and only 11 tables. The proprietors are husband-and-wife duo Chip Smith and Tina Vaughn, who previously operated a small restaurant in North Carolina. Once upon a time, Smith trained under Patrick O’Connell and Jean-Louis Palladin. Wells is a big fan of his French-influenced cuisine:

Mr. Smith’s main courses often pair two takes on a protein, one very good and the other exceptional: a juicy roasted chicken breast with ...

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