The Times' lame duck critic Sam Sifton sticks to Brooklyn this week for a one-star review of St. Anslem in Williamsburg (he calls it "Keens for the millennial set, a Bar Americain for the riders of fixed-gear bikes."). The place has its problems ("St. Anselm is, finally and most of all, a Williamsburg restaurant, with all that this entails") but nothing a solid saddle chop won't cure. So, if you prefer your restaurant reviews to be straight up slams, well, look no further than Bloomberg, where Ryan Sutton rips the Gossip Girl-loving restaurant Gilt a new one.
See, Sutton does not find the overpriced fare in the Madison Avenue building that once was home to Le Cirque charming. Not one bit. He doesn't like the chef ("Chef Justin Bogle, like his predecessor Christopher Lee, specializes in turning expensive luxury ingredients into cheap, uninteresting food."), he doesn't like the quality of the food (the caviar is a "second-rate, mushy brand of hackleback") and he doesn't like the presentation ("Raw scallops are served on a bed of ice. Remove your shellfish from the portable cooler. Wait five minutes before consuming."). There are a few dishes that are okay, but Sutton doesn't like that you can't order them à la carte in the lounge ("I tried. I failed. Even Thomas Keller’s Per Se lets folks purchase individual plates from the tasting menu."). He does, however, like the space. And the wine list isn't bad. But the praise stops there: "Does the sherry pair with hibiscus-wrapped foie gras? Perhaps. Problem is the liver suffers from hypothermia. At Gilt, the foie is so cold it must be cut with a knife."
In other restaurant reviews this week: New York's Adam Platt was pleasantly surprised by the food at Ellabess in the Nolitan hotel ("This is like fried chicken for ladies who lunch,"); Jay Cheshes was similarly surprised by the food at Marble Lane in the Dream Downtown hotel in Chelsea ("Former Top Chef contender Manuel Trevino hasn’t dumbed down his cooking to jibe with the space or the crowd it’s presumably courting, avoiding the usual clubland clichés."); The Post's Steve Cuozzo lurves the food at Salinas (the "menu at Salinas strikes a smart middle “Spanish” ground, shunning both wild departures and the clichés that long ruled the New York scene."); And over at the Voice, Robert Sietsema still likes the food at Taiwanese Specialties ("Think cheap David Chang") while Lauren Shockey tries Williamsburg's new pizzeria Forcella and really, really likes their fried pies. But really, hard to argue with a fried pizza.