Last week New York's Adam Platt pointed out all the rich white people (Woody Allen! Lloyd Blankfein!) happily dining on Italian fare at The Leopard at des Artistes and today it is Sam Sifton's turn. In his two-star Times review the critic makes a real effort to point out the important people he saw (Jon Corzine, the directors of the Whitney and MoMA, a VP at the Met). But beyond Manhattan society, Sifton is also charmed by the restaurant's renovation since Cafe des Artistes closed (you really can't top Howard Chandler Christy's cavorting nypmh murals) not to mention the restaurant's "simple food, apparently simply prepared." The fare isn't cheap but chef Vio Gnazzo's dishes are deceptively easy, and reportedly worth it. The dishes "taste not so much cooked as composed."
Over at the Post Steve Cuozzo heads down to the LES pawnstaurant lounge Beauty & Essex. Though he doesn't give it a rating, he doesn't seem to hate the "girls, girls, girls" joint one bit (perhaps that is because "women there outnumbered men on my visits by around 11 to one"). Anyway, though it has "enough nuisances to spook those over 35" it also has good reasons to pull them in, like "chef/partner Chris Santos’ 'global' menu" which "is better than it reads." Sure, it "isn't a place to be challenged by the food" and yet still: "beauty may be skin-deep, but it does leave a nice taste."
Back Uptown, both the Voices Robert Sietsema and Time Out's Jay Cheshes stop by Daniel Bould's latest, Boulud Sud, and leave smiling. Cheshes calls it the chef's "most international restaurant" and gives it four stars. If you are on a budget "There are enough shareable snacks at the top of the long bill of fare for a full tapas meal" but the rest of the menu is quite tasty as well. And the desserts? "These audacious sweets make the savory food here seem comparably safe." Meanwhile Sietsema finds the room a little beige but "despite a few missteps, this is summer cooking par excellence." Like Cheshes he says "Grazing lavishly among the apps and sides is your best bet," and doubles the praise for pastry chef Ghaya Oliveira who "has come up with a series of meal terminators that threaten to upstage the regular food."
Elsewhere in the Voice Lauren Shockey visits the Upper East Side's Czech newcomer Hospoda and finds it "breathing culinary life into East 73rd Street." The restaurant splits its menu into "green market," "chef's" and "Czech" subsections but as far as Shockey is concerned it is better to "Skip over the slightly less impressive chef's selections for the decidedly tastier Czech dishes."
Finally, over at The New Yorker, Tables For Two wanders over the Empire Diner, erm, The Highliner and finds it ain't what it used to be: "The body remains, but the soul has vanished." Sure the scene can be silly and fun but this is not the all-night diner you remember. It is a tourist spot, now. And "Of course, tourists need to eat, too, but at the Highliner they do not get to eat particularly well."