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Review Recap: Le Relais de Venise

Sam Sifton has been the New York Times restaurant critic for just four weeks, and already he is full of surprises. We have correctly predicted his rating just once—and that was for the rather obvious Marea.

We did not believe that this restaurant would get one star, based on the “meh” reviews we’ve read elsewhere. But we are glad that when Sifton gives a star, the restaurant is actually good—a contrast from the Frank Bruni era.

LE RELAIS DE VENISE L’ENTRECÔTE is a mouthful of a restaurant that opened a few months ago in a canyon at Lexington Avenue and 52nd Street, convenient mostly to hotel guests and hamsters on the Midtown professional wheel. It has no real menu to speak of. There is only salad and steak frites. Some wine to drink and a dessert after. Women in French maid outfits serve the stuff as if they were characters in an early Preston Sturges film. And you know what? It’s terrific.

We still don’t quite understand why a restaurant that serves only one salad and one entrée required a review to itself.

Record to date: 71–28 (71%)

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