Today, Sam Sifton blows a two-star kiss at Novitá, a restaurant largely ignored by the city’s foodistas since it opened in 1994:
Novitá is a designer shoe box of a restaurant around the corner from Gramercy Park, a basement room on East 22nd Street, a perfect neighborhood trattoria.
It has excellent pasta. In any other metropolis in North America, it would be well known among that city’s best places to eat. In many cities, it would sit atop the heap.
But in New York, a lot of people have never heard of the place. (How cool is that?) This is testament to the strength of our restaurant scene, to the sheer abundance of good restaurants here. And Novitá is a very good restaurant.
This felt like a “Bruni two,” reminding one of all the forgettable restaurants that won two stars from Sifton’s predecessor: “Main courses are less successful, though by no means off-putting.” He also notes that it is less “fussy” than before: “plates are food, not art.” Bruni could have ghost-written this review. Novitá may well deserve its deuce, but the review reads like that.
We had guessed that Sifton would not bother reviewing this place unless he were upgrading Ruth Reichl’s original one-star rating, and we are rewarded with $3 on our hypothetical one-dollar bet, while Eater loses a dollar.
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Life-to-date, New York Journal is 78–33 (70%).