Critic Roundup: Charlie Bird Has the Hardest-Working Host

Every week, The Daily Meal rounds up restaurant reviews across America

Facebook/Charlie Bird
'Armed with nothing but good cheer and a smile that could stop a war, she had the unenviable job of preventing an uprising in a waiting area by the door that might comfortably hold three people if they were very skinny and could survive for minutes at a time without breathing,' says Pete Wells of Charlie Bird's hostess.

This week in restaurant news, critic Pete Wells reviews SoHo's Charlie Bird, where he says it gets packed early and stays that way and the "hardest-working woman in the food business" is the host. "Armed with nothing but good cheer and a smile that could stop a war, she had the unenviable job of preventing an uprising in a waiting area by the door that might comfortably hold three people if they were very skinny and could survive for minutes at a time without breathing. There were around 10 of us." Wells describes the food as "surprisingly erratic: tremendously likable one moment, strangely off-key the next." "Ryan Hardy, the chef and Mr. Bohr’s partner, is working in an eager-to-please Italian mode that leans heavily on cheese, salt, and crunch," he says.

In Orange County, Calif., Andrea at The Resort at Pelican Hill is "gloriously old-fashioned and grand," according to critic Brad A. Johnson. "The tables are covered with ultra-fine linens and heavy sterling silverware. Tables are spaced far apart, providing an unparalleled sense of privacy," he says. Andrea's chef Luigi Fineo, who is from Southern Italy and joined the team a little more than a year ago, "completely transformed the kitchen" with a "seriousness" and "polish" that Johnson says was previously lacking. "I think it's safe to say that no other Italian restaurant in Orange County is cooking at the same high level of refinement as Fineo's team at Andrea," he says.

In Washington, D.C., critic Tom Sietsema reviews Osteria Morini, located between Nationals Park and Navy Yard in the Capitol Riverfront neighborhood, an offshoot of the New York original opened in 2010 by veteran chef Michael White of the Altamarea Group. "The newcomer, under the watch of executive chef Matt Adler, made the neighborhood more enticing the moment it started serving pasta and pouring vino on Nov. 19 (at a user-friendly 20 percent discount on the food, since discontinued)," says Sietsema. Once you order the "scallops capped with salsa verde and arranged on carrot-sweetened lentils" or the "rosy lamb and fried bell peppers sharpened with an aged balsamic vinegar," you "are likely to wish you lived closer," he says.

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 12/04/13

Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Gastronomia Culinaria  
Ryan Sutton Bloomberg Tao Downtown 1/2 star
Pete Wells New York Times Charlie Bird 1 star
Eric Doksa Charleston City Paper Scratch Taco Boutique  
Tom Sietsema Washington Post Osteria Morini  
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles TImes Colonia Taco Lounge  
Brad A. Johnson OC Register Andrea 3 stars
Michael Bauer San Francisco Chronicle Tosca Cafe 3 stars
Devra First The Boston Globe Stephi's In Southie  
Scott Reitz Dallas Observor Monkey King Noodle Co.  

 

Click here for The Daily Meal's "Top Chefs Review — and Rate — America's Food Critics."

 

Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @haleywillrd


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