Cheshes and Sietsema Praise Boulud Sud; Cuozzo Says Beauty and Essex Is ‘All About Girls’

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Sam Sifton digs the power art scene at Leopard at des Artistes, giving two stars to a place where "people wave at another constantly … as if at a gala or a board meeting." The "best options" are the lightly breaded swordfish, thick-crushed grilled rib eye or "Il Gattopardo's phenomenal meatloaf." He suggests the "cost-and flavor-conscious" order pasta, and praises the "especially pleasing" buccatini with a combination of bread crumbs and raisins that "promis[e] summer will last forever." [NYT]

"Beauty & Essex is all about girls, girls, girls," writes Steve Cuozzo. "Chris Santos' 'global' menu is better than it reads." The grilled cheese and tomato soup dumplings "sound, look and are ridiculous," but "they tasted annoyingly swell." He concedes the calamari a la plancha is "plausible paella with squid and chorizo" and the sherry-vinegar-glazed salmon "would be at home at Atlantic Grill or Union Square Café." [NYP]

"The body remains, but the soul has vanished," Ariel Levy writes in The New Yorker of the Highliner now in the space of the iconic Empire Diner. She dismisses the new restaurant as representative of the new Chelsea: "touristy, overpriced and shiny." The dinner disappoints, "hamachi arrived in hulking hunks, a steak ordered medium rare came out gray through and through," but the brunch fares better with "solid Bloody Marys, good, thick-cut bacon … and a tasty farro salad spiked with crisp bits of cauliflower." [NYer]

With Boulud Sud, Jay Cheshes writes, Daniel Boulud's stature grows "as the éminence grise of French food in New York." He praises the international cuisine as a "new polyglot mix along the French Mediterranean" with plates like " Morocco’s harira lamb soup, the spicy broth dense with French lentils and tender lamb meatballs," and the Eastern Mediterranean "dried chilies and za’atar encrusted on cod with a "Gallic finesse." [TONY]

Robert Sietsema also praises Boulud Sud. Tackling "the entire Mediterraenan rim," he succeeds with southern Gallic plates like the soupe de poisson and panisse, as well as the Sicilian sardine escabèche, from which "the impact on your tongue in stunning. " However, the "cooks lose their way" in Northern Italy with the crisp-less, cold rabbit porchetta and the veal tonnato that "tastes too much like canned tuna." He suggests you save room for dessert from pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira, who "has come up with a series of meal terminators that threaten to upstage the regular food." [VV]

Lauren Shockey writes the new Czech spot Hospoda "is breathing culinary life" into the Upper East Side with a three-part menu broken down into "Greenmarket," "chef's," and"Czech." "Don't miss a bounty of market veggies, glossed with 'celery essence' and studded with earthy morels" or the potato "variation," she instructs, but skip the chef's dishes for the "decidedly tastier" Czech ones, like the "supple and fork-tender poached-beef flatiron steak" and pork belly with cabbage and dumplings. [VV]

In the Times, Julia Moskin calls Monument Lane "inviting," with corner windows and pork skin bar snacks, and recommends the vegetable starters like butter-braised radishes and crisp fried chickpeas. Of the somewhat "lackluster" entrees, she writes the roast chicken, meatloaf, and grilled lamb sirloin were "best." Steven Stern praises Tom Colicchio's Lot on Tap as a "fine summer pleasure" with an "appropriately ad hoc and stripped down" vibe. For your plastic cups of booze, Stern recommends Brooklyn Brewery's "High Line Elevated Wheat," and Gotham Project wines, and labels the trucks on the Lot with varying degrees of success: Taim Mobile's falafel is "top notch," Rickshaw Dumplings are "reliable," and Kimchi Taco is "sub-optimal." [NYT, NYT]