Week in Reviews: Secession Gets the Goose Egg

Today Frankie Boom Boom drops the big zilch on David Bouley's Danube remake, Secession. As expected, he spends much of his time joking about the sheer size of the chaotic menu before going straight for the kill:

"Menus this epic and indefinable can certainly work, as long as the majority of dishes are appealing in and of themselves. But when as many are as unremarkable or off key as they were at Secession the production comes across as slapdash, undisciplined.

...Not much of what emerged from Secession's seemingly overburdened kitchen rose far above mediocrity. And there were instances of outright sloppiness....You can manage to eat well...if you isolate the menu's scattered gems...But service could be amateurish, and I'm not thinking of the otherwise exemplary waiter who struggled to master the menu."

And let's allow the Bruni one last dig at the menu, from the audio slide show: "I think it's slightly bigger than the welcome mat outside my front door at my apartment and slightly smaller than my bath towels." [NYT]

After slamming the Plaza's Palm Court, the Cuozz, with Cindy Adams in tow, takes a stab at the hotel's newest restaurant, The Oak Room: "We were smacking our lips over future columns full of malicious metaphors and wicked one-liners, when our plan started going awry....The lofty space is as baronial as ever, but refreshingly lighter on the eyes. Our next shock was the food...The kitchen's gotten sharper..." [NYP]

Alan Richman, who didn't like the authentic pinxtos joints in San Sebastian, is unimpressed with Alex Raij's New York version: "Is Txikito fun? Except for my ever-patient waitress, not really...There's barely any music, and the neighborhood crowd is pretty drab, too...I grew weary of food that was simplistic, rustic, and expensive." [GQ]

The RG heads over the 59th Street Bridge for some shots of wine and a lamb shank at Vesta Trattoria. It earns three stars: "The menu isn't complicated: three types of pizza, lasagna, linguine, gnocchi, calamari, chicken, steak...She doesn't overdesign them, she doesn't overpresent them, she's not trying to be a culinary architect...there's no fashion to this food whatsoever - only flavor." [NYDN]

Platt is MIA again this week, so the Robs file on West 4th Street's Irish tapas joint, Wilfie & Nell, giving it two UG stars: "Wilfie & Nell co-owner Mark Gibson came clean: As a favor, his friend Joaquin Baca (of Momofuku and Rusty Knot fame) had put together the menu. That everything on it...exceeds expectations, speaks not only to the fact that Baca is a good bacon-loving friend to have but that he also did a great job demonstrating to the kitchen crew how to execute the dishes." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Jay Cheshes gives the Oak Room five out of six stars, the lights go out on Gael Greene while she samples the new Kefi, Julia Moskin finds Naya Mezze & Grill surprisingly authentic, Oliver Schwaner-Albright enjoys the hearty portions at Brooklyn's Eurotrip, Gourmet finally finds a non-disgusting vegetarian restaurant in Dirt Candy, Sietsema tries the pho at Worls of Taste in the Bronx, Sarah DiGregorio has rattlesnake at Ellis Bar in Brooklyn, and Tables for Two enjoys the flavors and the portions at JoeDoe.

THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives the Venezuelan Cocotero a B, NY Journal deems Kefi an early disaster, Writing with my Mouth Full enjoys the pigs feet at Hakata Tonton, Lifestyle of a Yuppie has a rave for the pork lunch special at Szechuan Gourmet, Gotham Gal enjoys both The John Doy and Gemma, eateryROW isn't blown away by the ramen at 14th Street's new Kambi, and Eat It Brooklyn has a rave for the new Buttermilk Channel.For more stories from Eater, go to eater.com.

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