In the magazine this week, Adam Platt checks out two takes on the neighborhood bistro: the West Village's tiny, Mediterranean-inflected Bistro de la Gare and Alain Ducasse's airy midtown brasserie, Benoit. He enjoys the experience of Bistro de la Gare more than the food: "Like a classic, old opera, its pleasure isn’t in the content necessarily. It is in the neighborly scale, the ritualized pace of the proceedings." Despite some menu misfires, the best dishes have a "refreshingly unformed, home-style quality." Platt's visit to the "revamped" Benoit results in an elevation to one star from its previous zero stars, thanks to new chef Pierre Schaedelin and his cassoulet, a dish "so filling that when dessert rolls around, you’ll only need a taste."
If you're looking for something to eat after dinner, Robin Raisfeld and Rob Patronite note the growing popularity of pie with the soon-to-open Four & Twenty Blackbirds in Gowanus. In openings this week, "Momofuku Midtown" Má Pêche makes its official debut after five months of semi-openness; Quattro Gastronomia Italiana brings Italian food to Trump Soho by way of Miami; and with Terroir Tribeca, Paul Grieco and Marco Canora replicate and expand upon their "gleefully anti-establishment" East Village wine bar. Sunchokes are in season, and Mario Batali suggests that you show them off in a raw salad, a recipe from his cookbook inspired by the dishes on offer at Otto.