The Elm is one of the few restaurants to open this year that seems to be after three stars from The New York Times. The Marrow and Lafayette struck us as concepts that sought the same achievement, but both came up two stars short. We're certain Michael White's team at Costata is chasing three as well, but that review won't be out until (probably) September.
The trend is very much away from fine dining, polished rooms, and chiseled service from suited waiters. It's as if every new restaurant is following what's become the two star template. Pearl & Ash, Uncle Boons, ABC Cocina, Montmartre, Hanjan, and Mighty Quinn's have all opened in the past seven or eight months and have all received two stars. They are fun, casual eateries where reservations and a month spent saving aren't necessary to eat there.