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Tom Sietsema Disappointed By Michel Richard in NY

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Tom Sietsema travels to New York to review Villard Michel Richard, and delivers sort of a First Bite/review hybrid (no star rating) on the place. The bottom line: fans of Citronelle are going to be disappointed.

A mosaic of surf and turf — shavings of raw lobster, sirloin, tuna and more — lacks both the artful design and the contrasting flavors of the original I recall so fondly from Citronelle. Rosy Colorado lamb set against aromatic white beans and a pool of jalapeño sauce is pretty and pleasant, but no more than that. As at Citronelle, desserts at the Gallery can make you smile, if a little less than in the city where they were dreamed up. Even the bread, from Paris baker Eric Kayser, tastes less fresh than in other restaurants that offer it, including the four-star seafood temple Le Bernardin, also in Manhattan.

The critic (whose reservation is lost by the restaurant) says that generally, the food "lacks whimsy" and has service issues as well. [WaPo]

Meanwhile, the critic has a much better experience at Derek Brown's Eat the Rich, which he awards two and a half stars.

"Perhaps the most beautiful composition on the entire menu is the unlikely Beach and Beans: a chunk of albacore tuna poached in olive oil and gilded with clams, grilled squid and pickled mackerel — each element there for good reason — and completed with tender flageolet beans and colorful coins of radishes and carrots. The seafood salad would look at home at Palena."

Sietsema notes Brown and his team "have a habit of noticing what's missing on the scene and finding a way to fill the void. Like snowflakes, no two of their watering holes are the same. And like smiles, their ideas are most welcome." [WaPo]

Northern Virginia Magazine finds The Brick in Warrenton a promising new addition to NoVa's pizza scene.

It can take years to become adept at creating this particular type of pizza (Eisenhauer plans on applying for the official certification from Naples)—and the pizza here is on its way. The crust is wonderfully chewy with texture, with character. Although we liked the dough even better turned into a "bread" bowl and filled with smoked Gouda, smooth as liquid. Soup will never again live up to the contents of this carb-as-bowl.

DC Magazine reviews Iron Gate, Tony Chittum's latest.

The small dining room is a perfect date-night spot with its low light, red leather tufted banquettes, cozy nooks and wood-fueled fire burning in a brick hearth. The ever-changing tasting menu starts with Tastes, including a thin mosaic slice of octopus terrine with olive and fennel salad; charred broccoli with whipped ricotta; and pork and veal keftedes. For the Garden course, sublime bets are the baby beets with burrata-like stracciatella, green apple slices and hazelnuts; as well as the squash-filled pasta shaped like candy wrappers and crisped in brown butter.

Don Rockwell checks in at Umami Coffee and Ray's to the Third. Of the latter, he says, "Whatever Michael does to his hamburgers, I hope he never changes it. Essentially a ground up steak on a bun, it's as good as I remember it being (I haven't had one in over a year now). I added exactly one shake of salt (someone should start a specialty salt product called The Sheikh of Salt), and a dab of Gulden's mustard on the plate for the occasional dunk, and that's it." [DR]

Tyler Cowen visits Ya Hala in Vienna, which he calls a "remarkably fresh and yummy Lebanese mom and pop place" with the "best hummus around." [TC]

THE BLOGS: EatMore DrinkMore talks the Best of 2013...Bitches Who Brunch award an A to Capella.

Villard Michel Richard [Photo: Bess Adler/Eater NY]

Ray’s³ [Ray's To The Third]

1650 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201 703 841 7297

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