The Times's first string dining critic Sam Sifton is "off the grid" for a couple of weeks, but critic Ligaya Mishan ventures to Williamsburg to file a favorable review of Traif, which is named for the Yiddish term for food forbidden under Jewish dietary law. Mishan says it's "simply, a very nice restaurant. There’s nothing outré about the food, which is for the most part delicious and well made. The cooking is thoughtful, the flavors subtle and complex, the prices reasonable... When asked if you’d like to sit outside, say yes. On a stone patio, small tables nestle under a bower at the edge of a garden — lush, riotously green, with flowers, bushes, trees. You sit and stare, not daring to enter this promised land."

The Village Voice's Robert Sietsema says West Village Italian restaurant I Sodi has "succeeded in reproducing an actual Tuscan bill of fare, such as you might find in roadside osterias near Cortona or Gaiole-in-Chianti... I Sodi is named after owner Rita Sodi, a former Calvin Klein executive who came from Florence and still owns a farm north of the city. From that property flows the olive oil served in the restaurant, tinted an ethereal green and flaunting the slightly bitter edge characteristic of newly pressed oils. Sprinkled with sea salt and swabbed with selections from the bread basket, it could happily serve as your entire meal. But go easy, because you still have three full courses to plow through."

The New Yorker's Mike Peed finally gets around to Keith McNally's thoroughly reviewed Pulino's, and it's worth the wait because his lede is gold: "For three decades, Keith McNally’s restaurants have been where the young go to waste their youth, and the old to pretend they’ve reclaimed it." The kicker's mint, too: "Dessert brings almond shaved ice, which looks like a bowl of fresh snow and trumps any powder that McInerney ever found at Odeon."

And Time Out's Jay Cheshes gives three stars to crazy Tribeca Italian newcomer Il Matto, which "isn’t just pushing the envelope, it’s tearing it up. The restaurant, the most theatrical new venue since warrior-themed Ninja, features avant-garde Italian cuisine and zany mixed drinks, served in a dining room that looks as if it were pilfered from a Tim Burton film set. The space—think Lewis Carroll on MDMA—glows peep-show red thanks to trippy overhead lights. Snug wraparound booths, outfitted with wheels like Mad Tea Party cups, come with built-in wine coolers and saltshakers shaped like hand grenades. A huge framed tableau features tagging by graffiti icon Toxic, and the cocktails are shaken and stirred in a DJ-style booth near the entrance."