In today's Times-Picayune, restaurant critic Brett Anderson gives only two beans to the restaurant inside the Ritz-Carlton, M Bistro. He finds the restaurant to be, overall, just rather inconsistent, with the quality of both the service and the food suffering from "peaks and valleys." Here's a peak:
The best results bridge the Ritz's tradition of showcasing head-of-the-class talent with contemporary preferences for indigenous cooking and local sourcing. My favorite example included a cloud of Abita Amber "froth" the color and volume of a pirate's beard. The froth released aroma as it settled and disappeared, revealing a successful merger of barbecue shrimp and shrimp and grits. It was one of those rare occurrences in which pyrotechnics actually enhanced a dish you'd be happy to eat without them.But then the peaks rear their ugly heads in a lack of "restraint" on certain dishes and on others that "suffered from indifference." Making the inconsistency worse is that "M Bistro's service was similarly uneven." He ultimately concludes that, while it was maddeningly inconsistent at times, "the pieces are in place for M Bistro to remain" among those hotel restaurants leading the culinary pack.
Earlier this week, used his space in the Gambit to review the new CBD café Merchant. Giving "a tip of the hat" to the architect who designed the space, Ammar Eloueini, he does what he tends to do and gives general praise to the eatery. One of the owners represents Illy coffee, which leads to drinks "that are prepared and presented with great reverence." Their crepes "are fine ... though the spare fillings stop short of actually filling them and the batter itself is too bland to carry the day." That constitutes the only criticism in the review, with other items from both the breakfast and lunch menus garnering much stronger praise.
Elsewhere, in CityBusiness, Tom Fitzmorris gives three stars to Casablanca, a kosher Moroccan joint in Metairie (subscription required). He leads into his review with the totally unappetizing note that "I associate bad colds with Middle Eastern restaurants. That’s not where I pick up the sniffles, but where I ease the symptoms." Making the spot worth it are the "big flavors" that "run throughout the menu in dishes found nowhere else in New Orleans. It’s an interesting mix."
And finally, the blogs: Blackened Out has a trio of "Short Order Reviews," touching on Tommy's, Sukho Thai and Crescent City Steakhouse. Emily Smith at Fleurdelicious tries the Quarter's new sushi joint Ginger Lime. He Said/She Said NOLA isn't sold on City Greens. And Robert Peyton of New Orleans Mag's Haute Plates blog says both meals he's eaten at Maurepas Foods "have been great."