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‘Sinful Delights’ at Scarecrow; ‘Bowlfuls of Intensity’ at 2Nixons

What the critics are saying his week


If you take one thing away from the City Paper review of Scarecrow, it’s this — choose wisely and be sure to order the calamari. There’s an entire paragraph from critic Vanessa Wolf dedicated to it:

Bits of beautifully charred octopus and calamari are tossed with ground, spicy chorizo sausage and plump, rehydrated raisins. The addition of a vinegar-coated frisée brings acid and balance to the rich melange of meats, while a decidedly flavorful and satisfying crunch comes from a handful of (be still my heart) chicharones. Unique and delightful, it's one of the clearest examples of the ways in which Scarecrow's wood-fired, open-flamed schtick really works.

Wolf lets readers know the space is dark and loud (subtext: diners over 65, stay away). Here’s what she recommends once you get:

  • “... the cured meat board ($11) showcases a level of skill worthy of pause.”
  • “Rounding out the consistently satisfying starter options was the pork belly ($9).”
  • “... the dry-aged duck breast ($29) is expertly prepared, the crispy skin a revelation.”
  • “Vegetarians would do well to try the charred cauliflower ($9) ...”
  • And the king mackerel is “a lovely, luxuriant dish worthy of a cult following.”

Critic Hanna Raskin tracks down ramen pop-up 2Nixons for her review. She spends much of the article explaining chef Jeffrey Stoneberger — his background, his tattoos, his marital status, his inflammatory bowel disease, and his thoughts on umami. She explains his food here:

Flavors upon flavors upon flavors. It’s somewhat misleading to refer to Stoneberger’s output as ramen: Even he admits he latched onto the noun as a way of making pretentious-seeming Euro food more palatable to the masses. There are alkaline noodles, miso and chopsticks, but that’s all window-dressing for bowlfuls of intensity.

And once Raskin gets around to trying a bowl, she compares the flavor to a bag of Doritos — which could be good or bad, depending on your feelings on the snack food.

Smoked Fish and Cured Meats Are Scarecrow's Stock-In-Trade [CP]
For Stoneberger's 2Nixons, the Food Is All About Maxing Out Umami [P&C]

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