Critic Roundup: Off the Cutting Edge
In life, there are leaders and there are followers. Leaders are subject to criticism and punishment (see: Galileo and his heliocentric model of our solar system), while followers run the risk of being called copycats and deemed late to the party. Unfortunately, this past week, two critics found the restaurants they reviewed to fall into the latter category.
Alan Richman of GQ visited Bar Primi, Andrew Carmellini’s newest restaurant in New York. Although it’s a self-titled “pasta shop,” no pasta is sold retail, which Richman calls “nonsense.” The pasta and wine mostly struck the critic’s fancy, though he believes the eatery is piling itself on the tired trend of casual fine dining: “Carmellini apparently conceived Bar Primi seven years ago, and had he opened it then, before everything in New York was trending toward informal and casual, it might have been a sensation. Now it's merely one of many places of a similar nature.”
Up in Boston, Devra First of the Globe reviewed the new Parla, and wasn’t bowled over by the new North End establishment. She reported both the drinks and the food to be hit-or-miss, and was definitely unimpressed by yet another addition to the local speakeasy scene, allowing that “It was some fun when speakeasies reemerged a few years back…The trend has brought us better bartending and ingredients; it has restored to prominence delightful drinks we seldom got to enjoy and birthed plenty of new ones. Good stuff” before warning, “But the novelty has faded.”
So there are leaders and followers, and then there are game changers, and Delaware and Hudson in Williamsburg seems worthy of that title. The New York Times’ restaurant critic, Pete Wells, was wooed by chef and owner Patti Jackson’s commitment to sourcing not only her ingredients regionally, but also her recipes. Wells was impressed by her take on local cuisine, and praised both the restaurant and its chef with his glowing review: “The restaurant stands out from the pack, though, in part because Ms. Jackson draws on the traditions of long-gone Americans who would have been amazed to hear that farm-to-table would become a slogan one day.”
Restaurant Critic Roundup: 8/21/14