Sifton Tries to Parse Nello; Cheshes, Greene Shrug at the Mark

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Nello "is an ecosystem that is almost incomprehensible to those not a part of it," says Sam Sifton. "The food is not very good," — including fried artichokes that "tasted of shirt cardboard" — and it's expensive. But at least "the restaurant is welcoming and the people-watching is nonpareil." [NYT]

Jay Cheshes visits Jean-Georges Vongerichten's the Mark, where the food is "self-consciously calculated to inspire premillennial nostalgia" — but here, that's not necessarily a bad thing. "Though the menu breaks little new ground, it certainly shows off the chef’s impeccable standards." [TONY]

At first, the Mark's "modest reach," jarringly juxtaposed against its elegant room, left Gael Greene "lukewarm." On a later visit she enjoyed "an impressive performance" marked by brighter flavors and more deft execution. But where's Vongerichten? [Insatiable Critic]

Alan Richman's experience in the main dining room at Colicchio & Sons is "interesting rather than inspired," with regularly occurring frustrations having to do with "too many ingredients per dish, none of them given a chance to star." In contrast, the more straightforward fare at the Tap Room "is an almost unqualified success." [Forked & Corked/GQ]

"Most dishes succeed through a careful attention to detail," says Andrea Thompson of Village Tart, where playful entrées "tend toward comfort" and, considering Pichet Ong's involvement, "it would be a shame" to miss dessert. [NYer]

Robert Sietsema takes apart Faustina's menu, which tries "simultaneously to satisfy both Conant fans and clueless hotel guests who've wandered downstairs in search of a piece of toast." There are some highlights that channel Scott Conant's "playful and innovative take on Italian cuisine," but many dishes "find Conant running on autopilot, cloning commonplaces of the modern bistro menu." [VV]