Sifton Calls Roberta’s ‘Extraordinary’; Cheshes Thinks St. Anselm Is ‘Something Brand New in New York’

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Sam Sifton awards two stars to Roberta's, "one of the more extraordinary restaurants in the United States." In a "cinder block garage" with Christmas lights, he writes, "it is shocking, and wonderful" to eat chef Mirarchi's "artfully designed" plates, "delicate of flavor, free of excess fats or salts, as pure an expression of new American cuisine as you are likely to find anywhere." [NYT]
Earlier: The Times Is Love-Addicted to Robertas

Robert Sietsema hits up Pitchet Ong's take on authentic Thai food at Qi Bankok Eatery. "Though the food can be excellent," the space is a black-and-white "glitzy spectacle" with multiple chandeliers, odd seating arrangements, and an "awful" waitstaff unequipped to help with the overwhelming large and foreign menu. [VV]

Lauren Shockey gets drunk at the Beagle, where "the food is secondary to the drinks," and the serious tipples "are decked out with cool metal straws, verdant herb garnishes, and the potential for a pounding headache the next morning." She enjoyed the grilled quail and half-chicken, but the mussels and clams fell short; the steak, pork shoulder, and desserts were unmemorable. [VV]

In "Tables for Two," Amelia Leister writes Imperial No. Nine "feels like a cross between a JetBlue terminal and an expensive gym," catering to a transient, trendy crowd. The best dishes are the "ingenious cross-cultural mashups, usually of a vegetal variety," like "buttery black chickpeas and raita" or "crisp nuggest of peanutty potato," but they don't completely satisfy orcombine well with the supposed main event of seafood "which often winds up overpowered." [NYer]

Jay Cheshes calls St. Anselm "something brand new in New York: a serious modern restaurant where grilling comes first." Head chef and pit-master Yvon de Tassigny is "an ace on the grill" combining "Mediterranean, asian and all-amerian" plates in a way that is smart, sophisticated, and soulful. The grilling is less successful with dessert, he writes: "there's no pastry chef here, and and it shows." [TONY]