Critic Roundup: Session Kitchen Is a 'Game-Changer'

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

Session Kitchen is "one of the more exciting restaurants" in Denver and a "game-changer" due to its chef Scott Parker, its "inventive and meticulous" menu, and its décor.

This week in restaurant news, critic William Porter calls Session Kitchen "one of the more exciting restaurants" in Denver and a "game-changer" due to its chef Scott Parker, its "inventive and meticulous" menu, and its décor, described as "vivid and grin-inducing, a mélange of reds, grays, and whites punctuated by striking artwork." "First off, a note to early patrons of the restaurant who might have been put off by the rather clumsily organized and confusing menu, which needed the sort of tableside translation typically reserved for the flight manual of an F-22 Raptor," Porter says. "The menu has been revised, streamlined into straightforward accessibility, and the preciousness tossed out with last week's potato peels. Bravo."

In Orange County, Calif., critic Brad Johnson dines at Selanne Steak Tavern on two separate nights. On the first night, he says the service is "comically pathetic." "On the rare instances when we do encounter a server, they are frantically at their wits' end," he says. The next night, however, "right off the bat, our server is fantastic... He never skips a beat. He anticipates every need. He is a gentleman and a trustworthy salesman."

In Washington, D.C., Muze, which changed its name last month from Sou’wester as well as appointed a new chef de cuisine, Mark McDonnell, adds more "Asian accents" to its menu, says critic Tom Sietsema. "For your consideration: a sandwich layered with beet relish, goat cheese, and falafel (made green with edamame) and a main course of veal glazed with fermented black bean sauce. The latter shows up with a carrot purée seasoned with star anise that further underscores the venue’s change in direction."


Restaurant Critic Roundup: 1/8/2014


Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic The Writing Room  
Tom Sietsema Washington Post Muze  
Brad A. Johnson Orange County Register Selanne Steak Tavern 2 stars
Stan Sagner NY Daily News M. Wells Steakhouse  
William Porter Denver Post Session Kitchen 3 stars
Michael Bauer San Francisco Chronicle Box and Bells 2.5 stars
Pete Wells New York Times Tosca Cafe  
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles TImes Din Tai Fung  
Devra First The Boston Globe Fairsted Kitchen  
Scott Reitz Dallas Observer LUCK  

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


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