Eaters' Journal 11/07/08: Irving Mill, Rouge Tomate, 2nd Ave Deli, Fergus at Ssam

Horine, 10/28/08

Irving Mill: On a recent Saturday night at Irving Mill, the kitchen here was incredibly competent, service smooth, and the food, excellent. They have a seriously excellent burger on their hands here but Skeen has a way with pasta, lamb, and butternut squash with bacon as well. One note to the hostesses: please lose the "I can seat you if you give up the table in an hour" shtick. It starts the meal off on a sour note. If you don't have the table, you don't have the table, and timing is often out of the diner's control.—Kludt

Rouge Tomate: The first thing one notes about this new Eurpoean spa cuisine restaurant on 60th east of 5th Avenue, formerly a Nicole Farhi boutique and cafe on two levels, is that it's huge. Then, get a load of the depth of these owners' pockets. But the installation is really quite pleasant, and elegant, so while skepticism isn't the wrong attitude, it'll give way to hope that the place might actually make it. As for the food (for us, comped), amid some very good bits—a crab couscous that comes alongside a carrot terrine—a lot of it is too thinly flavored and lacks an essential soul. If it does make it, the restaurant will quietly come to understand that New Yorkers don't want to eat healthy so much as they want to think they're eating healthy.—BL

2nd Ave Deli: Brought some out of towners here who were incredibly surprised at how nice the servers were compared to the 2nd Ave location. And just about everything—pastrami, white fish, matzoh, stuffed cabbage, and stroganoff—was as good as the original.—Kludt

Fergus at Ssam: Loved: chitterlings, marrow, trotters and snails, pig head and bean salad, Momo pork buns. Didn't love: fried lamb brains, the price compared to portion size on the special menu.—KludtFor more stories from Eater, go to

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