Ian McNulty writes about the hot tableside action at Little Korea this week. The casual Central City restaurant that opened up this summer in a former Taco Bell on Claiborne is still a bit unknown to most. While he says the menu has some decent options including some Vietnamese fare, and potato croquettes and seafood pancake appetizers, the Korean specialties are really where it's at. The banchan, fermented and pickled foods (like Kimchi) served before and during lunch and dinner, impress and round out the meals. But it's the grilled meat that McNulty finds "outrageously flavorful":
the Just watch as waitresses bring grilling setups to another table and it becomes clear what you should have ordered.There's the gas burner and the fry pan, just like what you have at home. Into the pan goes oil, garlic and, after a moment, a plate of raw meat (pick the marinated beef over the bland, fatty pork). There it snaps and sizzles, making an arrestingly aromatic introduction to the meal.
McNulty says the tableside preparation is no "gimmick," but leaves the meat "hot, slicked with garlicky oil, and pungent with sauce." Sounds like somebody needs a cold shower. [Gambit]
Tom Fitzmorris gives three stars to the Riverbend's Café Nino, a decent pizza spot he considers to be from the era when pizzerias were all full of "grubbiness", and not the pristine "hip" restaurants with wood-fired ovens of late. In fact, Fitzmorris makes the argument that Café Nino's grubbiness is a dining trend purported by The Food Network, which "has a lot of people believing the less presentable a restaurant is, the better the food. This is almost always false, but Café Nino is the exception that disproves the supposed rule." Overall, Tommy Boy says it's a good little pizza joint, with Chef Nino Bongiorno making his New York style pizza a little burned around the edges, and serving some killer philly cheese steaks.[CityBusiness, Subscription Required]
Robert Peyton lunches at Annunciation, which looks and feels a lot like Clancy's (maybe not that surpising, as Annunciation's Steve Manning was formerly the chef there) but with a modern edge. A perfectly fried soft-shell crab came with a "bit watery" though decent potato salad, and slow-cooked greens that were "delicious and studded with big pieces of ham", though with the "grainy texture that suggested they hadn't been thoroughly washed before they were cooked." Still Peyton recommends the restaurant. and he says he'll be back for dinner because his "meal was excellent, and so was the service." [HautePlate]