Ian McNulty visits Sainte Marie this week and finds "refreshing originality and consistency at a restaurant that has long needed a stronger dose of both." This in part is due to the addition of chef Kristin Essig, who has taken over the kitchen after chef Ngoc Nguyen sadly and shockingly passed away in January.
Despite a few predictable (though solid) dishes and at least one dissapointment (overcooked beef skewer), McNulty finds a "much improved revamp" at this CBD cocktail haven and brasserie, including lots of lighter, local seasonal fare (Essig was once manager of the Crescent City Farmers Market) like "fried oysters with slivered apples in a tangle of peppery watercress" and this:
In one particularly impressive entree, roasted duck was burgundy-rare under a crackinglike crust and strands of confit threaded a hearty risotto.
Overall, McNulty sounds mighty impressed with Essig's offerings, and says he'd even order Ste. Marie's upscale take on Yaka Mein "in a heartbeat." [Gambit]
Tom Fitzmorris makes it rain FOUR WHOLE STARS on Emeril's Delmonico this week, foregoing an in depth review of the food for more of a history lesson on the restaurant. Even though T-Fitz twice mentions that Delmonico is the "overflow" restaurant for Emeril's flagship, and an expensive one at that ($$$$$$), he celebrates the "young, jazzed-up chefs" for being both cutting edge yet traditional enough to "keep the menu well-marbled." Yes, the "non-ironic retro quality" of the Creole cuisine "warms the heart of people of my generation," says T-Fitz, which makes sense because as the old adage goes, you are what you eat.
While Exec Chef Anthony Scalia gets no mention, he does get a snazzy photo of arranging a charcuterie board, which is T-Fitz' top essential dish. Others include a crispy pork cheek and bread pudding, all washed down by a well-kept wine list.
A thorough Fitzhistory lesson reveals the backstory of the 118-year-old Delmonico, from when it was founded by Anthony Commander in 1897 to its current day as part of the Emeril's empire, including all the ownership in between. Other than that, T-Fitz room for improvement: He'd prefer less ingredients in each dish, though all ingredients are of "superb quality." +1 Hipness Points and +3 Service even though "the service staff is a bit less formal and skillful than before the storm, but that's true all over these days." [CityBusiness, sub req]