As noted yesterday, and earlier, we have food on our mind recently, so more than ever I am following reviews and other food stories in the various publications I read. Even when he is tough on his subject, Pete Wells delivers the reader something to brighten the day. This review has a few paragraphs that define his style to me, including a graceful set of kisses followed by a bracing slap on the cheek:
…Restaurants don’t need to do new things if they do the old things right.
The leg of lamb has not been reinvented. Having spun on a rotisserie under a coat of herbs, it is carved off in long strips, like shawarma, and draped over very soft flageolets. A cheese soufflé appetizer recalls the warm pot de fromage at Cherche Midi; it’s delicious, even if it is breadier than a classic soufflé, more like a Gruyère-and-Parmesan popover.
On Mondays, you can get a bowl of fine, fattish mussels in coconut milk with lemongrass, like a tribute to Jean-Georges Vongerichten in the Vong era. At lunch, there is a lobster roll that Mr. McBride and Mr. Parilla have the good sense to serve warm, dressed just with lemon and melted butter, the way you’d eat it on the Connecticut coast.
At lunch or at dinner, somebody will be eating a burger, a richly dripping hulk of meat under melted Comté and onions cooked with Scotch. It shows up at the table with a shot of bourbon. The Scotch does more for the onions than the bourbon does for the burger. On the other hand, a shot of bourbon is just as welcome with a burger as it would be with any number of other purchases — haircuts, MetroCards, the morning paper.
When invention does rear its head, the results are not always spectacular. What dark urge led the chefs to foie gras Augustine, thin slices of foie gras terrine scattered with chopped green beans and artichokes barigoule? And is there a way to get it de-Augustined?…
Read the whole article here.