Week in Reviews: Delicatessen Gets a Goose Egg

Krieger, 7/16/08

The Brunz gives the two month-old Soho scene Delicatessen a little visit and serves up a bit fat goose egg of the "Satisfactory" variety. Don't get the Brunmeister wrong—some of the creations are genius. They just don't taste good. The cheeseburger spring rolls are a good starting point:

"They promise comfort with a bit of spin and a dash of international sophistication, comfort with a cheeky tweak. And in doing so they crystallize the appeal of this seriously mediocre but ingeniously conceived restaurant, a delicatessen that’s not really a delicatessen, in the same way that its forebear, Cafeteria, isn’t really a cafeteria.

Both are calorie-laden, fry-happy, reliably mobbed feeding grounds for young diners who want a sleek theater, a fashionable crowd and permission from the style gods for messy eating.

...Many of these dishes are clever, but their execution is usually matter of fact and sometimes quite sloppy, with few exceptions, notably the fried chicken, crunchy and juicy."

As Frank notes in his audio slide show, "It's a nice slice of Manhattan anthropology or sociology or what have you...if you're looking for calories, good bang for buck, and alcohol sponges with a pretty crowd, you'll get it here." [NYT]

Ryan Sutton files on Todd English's just-opened Libertine and finds disappointment: "Libertine is only about two weeks old, but how can a restaurateur with so much experience allow such mediocre fare?...I try to think of Libertine as a respectable neighborhood joint for a good Manhattan (rightly stirred, not shaken) and fresh oysters (not too cold)." [Bloomberg]

Paul Adams files what could possibly be one of his last reviews in the waning days of the Sun. He's a fan on EVill's JoeDoe, and a bit poetic about it: "In the depths of a broad-brimmed bowl nestles a hot mess of big, slippery tapioca pearls mingled with crumbled sausage, out of which a trail of red and white hunks of lobster meat startlingly claws its way up, into a slick of minty watermelon gazpacho...It's not the most intuitive of flavor combinations, but it's an unexpectedly satisfying appetizer." [NYS]

The RG tries out the East Village's Apiary and awards it two stars. She finds a few standouts, but the place isn't exactly a home run: "Think of it as Neal Manacle's twist on Bobby Flay's palette of spices. After all, Manacle worked in Flay's kitchens for 16 years. You expect sweetness in a restaurant called Apiary, but sometimes the sweetness gets out of hand. Does a crab cake really need lime curd?" [NYDN]

Platt files on the troubled Sheridan Square and concludes she's not much to look at, but the food is, for the most part, decent. He gives it a one: "Given these portents of doom (location and décor being the surest early indicators of a restaurant’s prospects), it’s a mild surprise that Sheridan Square has managed, during its short tenure, to lure not one but two top-level chefs...the constrained, slightly prosaic entrée list includes nine items...Most of these familiar dishes are well executed, however, and a few are downright good." [NYM]

THE ELSEWHERE: Alan Richman has a new rave for Alto, Bruni isn't much of a fan of Apiary, while Randall Lane thinks their entrees are ok (aps are horrific), The Cuozz notes that the burgers at Five Napkin Burger have improved dramatically since the summer, Sarah DiGregio enjoys the South African game at Braai, Oliver Schwaner-Albright files a Dining Brief on the East Village's Yerba Buena, Sietsema treks out to Newark to try McWorter Barbecue, and Tables for Two is at the General Greene.

THE BLOGS: Ed Levine gives lunch at Morimoto a B+, Cleaned my Plate finds Veritas impressive but overpriced, Gotham Gal loves 15 East, The Pink Pig files on the very new Double Crown, and Goodies First strangely enough files on both Little Lad's and Little Pepper.

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