Well-Reviewed: Bouchon Earns a Rave; Danny Meyer’s Maialino Can’t Miss; and More.

Recent reviews around the nation…

* Critic Tom Sietsema heads to the Hill for a meal at Bistro Cacao. [The Washington Post]

* S. Irene Virbila welcomes Thomas Keller’s Bouchon with open arms and three shiny stars. [Los Angeles Times]

* Minneapolis’s answer to Jean-Georges scores another hit with D’Amico Kitchen, according to Rick Nelson. [Star-Tribune]

* Virbila also likes LA’s neighborhoody House Café for a bite. [Los Angeles Times]

* Chris Colin finds the view’s the thing at Oakland’s The Lake Chalet Seafood Bar & Grill. [The New York Times]

* Danny Meyer’s Maialino is so nice, this week it’s been reviewed twice. [New York Post, The New York Times]

* Pelago wows the Windy City’s Phil Vettel. [Chicago Tribune]

* Michael Bauer remains loyal to old favorite Rivoli. [San Francisco Chronicle]

Four Seasons New Chef Moves On

Everything old is new again at The Four Seasons. Recently hired Fabio Trabocchi, formerly of now-shuttered Fiamma, has exited his position as executive chef at this Manhattan mainstay after, according to the New York Post, regulars couldn’t find the restaurant’s regular dishes on the menu. Both sides are mum about the reasons behind the split, but it’s no doubt that both the legendary restaurant and this Michelin-starred chef will continue to please diners, albeit separately.

Score a Great Table During the World Series

Even if you’re not a fan of baseball, you may still want to pay attention to what’s happening in New York and Philadelphia in the coming days. According to the New York Post, it’s easier to find open tables at some of the city’s hottest restaurants on game nights. Restaurants and bars with television sets aren’t seeing a slide in business, but at high-end restaurants that aren’t showing the game, such as David Burke Townhouse, prime-time tables that would typically be filled are yours for the taking. A similar phenomenon is probably taking place in Philadelphia.

If you’ve got a bigger appetite for world-class cuisine than the World Series (or you don’t mind setting your DVR), search for open tables at New York’s and Philadelphia’s finest restaurants. Remaining game dates are October 29, October 31, November 1, November 2, November 4, and November 5, and unlike the Yanks and the Phillies, you probably won’t strike out.

When Restaurants Take a Vacation

gone-fishingEverybody deserves a break once in a while — even restaurants (and all the hard-working folks who toil there!). I was poking around on OpenTable, pondering reservation choices for dinners over the next few weeks, and La Grenouille, a New York dining institution, didn’t show up for any of dates. I panicked for a few moments (Could they be — GASP! — closing?) until clicking over to their profile page and seeing a note, indicating they’re taking a brief break during the last days of high summer. A piece in the New York Post a few days later touched on this very topic, revealing that several of Manhattan’s most famous establishments go on hiatus for a few weeks around this time of year, including Cafe des Artistes, Adour Alain Ducasse at the St. Regis, Le Cirque, Cafe Boulud, and Chanterelle (the last two are also undergoing renovations).

If you don’t see availability for a particular restaurant, check the restaurant’s profile page for a note about a vacation or renovations before assuming the worst. And, try to find some new faves while your current ones are taking time away or, lucky them, all booked up!

The Upside to Dining out in a Down Economy

fork-knife-menuIs the recession keeping you out of restaurants?  The New York Post details 10 ways a weakened economy is actually a boon to hungry diners, highlighting deals at Fishtail by David Burke, David Burke Townhouse, Chanterelle, Per Se, and more. Other trends include bar areas that are — wait for it! — for drinking rather than dining and burgers showing up on some very upscale menus (Sorry, no Per Se sliders!). Similarly, restaurants in your neighborhood that may have been out of your reach may be well within it. So, stop denying yourself and start dining out!