Restaurant Critic Roundup: Los Angeles Restaurant Allumette Has 'Etsy Sensibility'

This week in restaurant news, critic Alan Richman reviews New York restaurant The Elm. "It's a singular restaurant where [chef] Liebrandt demonstrates his artistry in ways he hasn't before. He is one of our finest American chefs as well as a New York treasure, all talent and temperament" he says. However, a little word of warning from the critic: "But when you go, don't have the chicken." 

Also in New York, Pete Wells reviews Armani Ristorante, giving the Fifth Avenue establishment a total of two stars. "A few opulent restaurants opened right after the economy fell apart in 2008," he says, "like guests who pound on the door long after the lights have been turned out and the hosts have gone to bed. The rest of the city looked up from a collective hangover at their flashy outfits and expectant smiles and said, 'Um, the party's kind of over, dude.'"

In San Francisco, Mikkeller Bar is "a destination, despite its sketchy location," according to critic Michael Bauer. "Even at 6:30 p.m. on a Thursday, there was barely standing room," he says. "If you wanted to sit and eat, the wait was about an hour; it was as busy as a Saturday at midnight at most other bars." However, the bar, he says "excels at matching beer and food." 

In Los Angeles, critic Jonathan Gold reviews restaurant Allumette. "[Allumette] occupies an odd spot for a fine-dining restaurant, across the street from a supermarket parking lot, in a space that used to belong, I think, to one of the better Salvadoran pupuserias in town," he says. "The last couple of restaurants at this address were OK, although it was hard to sit through a dinner without contemplating the possibility of dashing to the nearby Arizas truck for a plateful of chorizo tacos. Miles Thompson, the young chef at Allumette (and an alumnus of Nobu, Animal and Son of a Gun), ran his pop-up Vagrancy Project on off nights at Allston Yacht Club in this same space — and he moves through the restaurant with the lithe grace of an avant-metal guitar god."

As always, the ratings range from stars to bells to beans, but every review offers specialized insight into the food, atmosphere, and service of eateries in each city's dining scene and the critics eating at them.

Restaurant Critic Roundup: 9/11/2013

Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Alan Richman GQ The Elm 3 stars
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Sushi Nakazawa  
Pete Wells The New York Times Armani Ristorante 2 stars
Richard Vines Bloomberg Shard 3 stars
Michael Bauer San Francisco Chronicle Mikkeller Bar 2.5 stars
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles Times Allumette  
Brad A. Johnson OC Register Old Vine Café 2 stars
Robert Moss Charleston City Paper Cha Cha's  
Tom Sietsema Washington Post Doi Moi  
Scott Reitz Dallas Observer Sushi Sake  

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

Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @atylersullivan