The Times's Sam Sifton is back on the beat this week, and rather than look at a new restaurant he's gone and revisited an old one. A very old one. But even after 85 years, the Palm doesn't disappoint... assuming you don't look at the menu (which has calorie counts) and just order the steak or the lobster. Avoid those rules and you are on your own. In the end Sifton gives the restaurant and its sibling, Palm Too across the street, one-star (which is what it got in 1992). "Palm may be a chain restaurant," he says. "But not on Second Avenue, no matter where you sit."
Over at Bloomberg Ryan Sutton catches up with his peers and stops by David Bouley's Brushstroke, which he calls the "most expensive city restaurant to have opened this year." And though some of the dishes don't quite make sense even in the context of "Kyoto, New York-style" (see: "meltingly tender pork cheeks with green apple puree—a dish straight out of Oktoberfest.") they still taste good. Other highlights include a "fantastic" duck salad (where the only thing Asian was the "Japanese eggplant and miso-mustard dressing") and braised wagyu with a raw egg yolk available only off the à la carte menu in the lounge. In the end Sutton gives the restaurant three-stars, and announces that "Bouley is back, again."
Over at New York, Adam Platt wanders over to Andrew Carmellini's new hotspot The Dutch which his wife refers to as "a hipster theme park." Though he gives it two stars, he doesn't seem quite sold—mostly because of the space, not the food. "The dirigible-size version of rabbit potpie is large and tasty enough to satisfy a family of four, although it’s probably not the ideal dish to order in a tiny, cacophonic barroom on a sweltering summer night." Meanwhile, Platt also checked out The Leopard at des Artistes where the food is uneven and "fairly rudimentary" but the people-watching is a certain kind of A-list (Lloyd Blankfein, Woody Allen and Soon-Yi Previn, Steve Martin). All in all he gives it one star.
Over at the Voice, Lauren Shockey goes for some Filipino fare at Se Aming Nayon on first avenue and calls the not particularly attractive restaurant's back garden one of the "city's top restaurant secret gardens." And the food, if you can navigate the menu and aren't a vegetarian, is quite good. If it is your first time, Shockey recommends sticking with the house specials, like the "chicken inasal ($8.95), breast meat marinated in vinegar, garlic, and lemongrass before being grilled to charred perfection."
Finally, the New Yorker's Table for Two catches up with couple-years-old spot The Smile in NoHo and comes away...smiling. The decor is full of tchotchkes (it was conceived as half store), the "menu is chiefly American, with a few detours" to Greece and Morocco, and the clientele? Well, "The owners, Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman, who are the bearded duo behind the exclusive Jane Ballroom, have cultivated a cool crowd of bohemian types with a robust celebrity contingent, pint-size former child stars and quart-size mumblecore actresses alike."