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Frank Bruni

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Cipriani Charged With ‘Highway Robbery’; Market Table Gets a Big Kiss From RG

Frank Bruni pens one of his best zero-star reviews ever in putting down Harry Cipriani, hard: “The crime that comes to mind first when I think of the Ciprianis is highway robbery. Based on my recent experience, that’s what happens almost any time Harry Cipriani on Fifth Avenue serves lunch or dinner.” Brillo-like potatoes? $23 for asparagus? Bruni makes 'em pay. [NYT] Market Table gets two and a half stars from Restaurant Girl, who praises the solid American cooking and buys into the overall concept. We wondered if MT wouldn't be the restaurant that absorbed the Haute Barnyard backlash, but it seems to have dodged it so far. [NYDN] Paul Adams hits Tailor and delivers the most intelligently rendered version of what seems to be the verdict on the place: The food is brilliant but spotty, and the drinks are great. [NYS]

Nello Pissed at Model for Taking His Umbrella; Winner of ‘Next Iron Chef’

Oh, Nello! Fiesty Mr. Balan is in his latest rage because he lent a model his $1,000 leather umbrella “because it was raining because I am a gentleman … Stop behaving like a boulevardier [street person] and a petite voleuse [petty thief]. You don’t give me the umbrella, I sue you,” which he is now doing because she returned it broken in two. [NYP] Related: A Model Breaks Nello's Heart, Umbrella The newest Iron Chef is … Cleveland’s Michael Symon. [Serious Eats] Laurent Tourondel tells Bruni he enjoys dining most in Vietnam, but the influence in the recipes for his Thanksgiving spread is all French. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Gordo Casting Restaurateurs; Thomas Keller Feels for Celebrity Chefs

Gordo’s back on Fox TV for another season of Kitchen Nightmares, and he’s looking for a floundering restaurateur to belittle on national TV. [Eater] It’s hard out there for a chef, according to Thomas Keller: “No longer are critically-acclaimed chefs allowed — as they might have been even ten years ago — to call it a day after opening a single successful restaurant. Instead, he said, food wizards like him are … expected to pen best-sellers, give lectures, judge reality TV shows and host benefits like the one he gave last night.” [NYO] The massive, multistory Pop Burger at 14 East 58th Street will start serving baby crab cakes and grilled filet mignon in addition to burger boxes by mid-November. [Strong Buzz] Related: Massive New Pop Burger Popping Up in Midtown

Pamplona Given a New Lease on Life; Bobo Hit Hard

Alex Ureña's somewhat mainstreamed restaurant, Pamplona, earns the catchall two-star rating from Frank Bruni — a great victory for them, since it legitimizes the restaurant and puts it on the solid footing it desperately needed. Bruni doesn't sound especially impressed, however: “His best dishes are more than memorable enough to redeem Pamplona’s shortcomings.” Well, that's good! [NYT] Critics tend to like writing about restaurants that fail badly in one way (such as the food) while succeeding in another, less important way (such as the room). That disjunction gives Danyelle Freeman free rein to jump with both feet onto Bobo. [NYDN] Randall Lane checks in on the two newly opened Mexican restaurants, Toloache and Los Dados and likes them both okay, but he has changed his ways and is now throwing around stars like they were manhole covers: three (of six) for Toloache, home of the famous grasshopper taco, and two for meatpacking trendhole Los Dados. [TONY]

New Momofuku(s) Opening Next Week; Meryl Streep to Play Julia Child

Momofuku Noodle Bar 2.0 is set to open Tuesday, which by David Chang’s accounts should mean Ko will be raised in one night and ready by Wednesday in the original’s former space. [Eater] Related: Keeping Up With the Momofukus Food & Wine questions whether Meryl Streep can carry the role of their “Patron Saint” Julia Child, though they have hope from a scene in The Hours in which the actress “deftly separated egg whites from egg yolks by letting the whites run through her fingers.” [Mouthing Off/Food&Wine] Hudson Valley is the largest foie gras producer in the country so even though 15,000 breeding ducks were killed in a fire this week, it “shouldn’t seriously affect production,” says Frank Bruni. [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Gordon Ramsay Gives At Least Two Swearwords About Frank Bruni

Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay’s latest rant, though enjoyable, suggests to us that the Blustering Briton has a short memory. His latest shot at Frank Bruni’s alleged mistreatment of him — “don't schmarm me and play Mr. Nice Guy on the telephone and then pan me 48 hours later. I lose a lot of respect for you on that front”— comes only two weeks after a macho boast to London’s Independent about how little Bruni mattered to him. “I don’t give two fucks about it,” he said. “Never have, never met the guy, not remotely interested.” And now he’s ready to make canapés for free at his funeral? Come on, Gordo! Admit that Frank Bruni has stung you to the core. We know it’s on your mind. Ramsay In Attack On NY Food Critics [Daily Star] Gordon Ramsay Attacks ‘Unqualified’ Critics [Telegraph] The Real Life Anton Egos: Inside the Vicious World of the Food Critics [Independent] Related: Could Gordon Ramsay's Act Get Any More Tired? Apparently So.

Gordo Envisions Demise of Bruni; David Burke Scores Cabaret License

Gordo scoffs at Frank Bruni for panning his restaurant after the Times critic called to “schmarm” him and ask about a dish since “if you don’t know what you’re criticising, then don’t write about it.” But the snappy chef still feels generous toward food critics: He’ll “do all the canapés at their funerals free of charge.” [Daily Star] David Burke just acquired a cabaret license for Hawaiian Tropic Zone, though thankfully it won’t be Burke himself doing the dancing but rather professionals copying the Pussycat Dolls. [NYP] Smart small businesses like Little Cupcake Bake Shop in Bay Ridge are leading the green front because they can “benefit from conservation efforts in two ways — by saving money on their monthly utility bills and by raising their profile in the community for much less money than they might spend on local advertising.” [NYT]

A Star Swap for Alto & L’Impero; No Amore for Richman at Fiamma

The Times’ verdict is in on Alto and L’Impero, and it’s the expected three and two stars, respectively. Lost in the Alto upgrade is the hard fact that L’Impero now enters the dreaded two-star limbo into which Frank Bruni puts any place neither transcendent nor mediocre. Personally, we would have had it at four and three. [NYT] Alan Richman admires the new Fiamma (former home to Mike White) in a cool and distant way, finding the food busy and not at all Italian, although not exactly lousy by any means. No one will read this review and want to spend money to eat at Fiamma. [Bloomberg] On the other hand, Restaurant Girl’s three-star review reads like a perfume ad, it’s so loving: “Like an artist, he paints deeply flavored ragu onto a pappardelle canvas, finished with tender ribbons of venison.” Ew! But Steve Hanson must be happy. [NYDN]

Big Dreams for Chodorow's Next Showstopper; Perv Attacking Women Outside the Box

Cuozzo fantasizes about the possible successes Jeffrey Chodorow could develop if he signs a lease on the enormous space at Broadway and 63rd Street. They include stellar risotto, traditional dim sum, and haute Lebanese — if only he doesn’t “blow it on another howler like Rocco’s or a limping dud like Kobe Club.” [NYP] A Queens dumpling celebrity, a chef in northern China before transplanting to the U.S., has been persuaded to supply her specialty to TKettle on St. Marks Place. Get there early, though; she’s only agreed to hand-make 1,000 per day for the bubble-tea shop. [Eat for Victory/VV] Two young female patrons of the Box have been abducted from outside the club and raped on separate occasions in less than a month, and the predator has not been apprehended. [NYP]

Bruni Down With Lunch at Craft; Blue Ribbon to Open This Week in Columbus Circle

Clinton Hill: A Nigerian restaurant, EN of Africa, is opening on the corner of Cumberland and Lafayette, and there’s relief that it’s not another French spot. [Clinton Hill Blog] Flatiron: Frank Bruni finds the newly instated lunch at Craft a good, logical fit, in that “Craft doesn’t project the kind of fussiness — on the plate or in terms of décor — that can feel more stilted and constraining at lunch than at dinner.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Hell's Kitchen: Xai Xai, a new wine bar, has opened up. [Endless Simmer] Murray Hill/Kips Bay: From November 7 to 10, the Champagne room at Country will be transformed into a bonbon shop where you can pair pastry chef Hsing Chen’s house-made chocolates with specialty cocktails or order a chocolate tasting menu as part of a collaboration with the upcoming Chocolate Show. [Grub Street] Park Slope: Katina’s seems to have been taken over by super Greek diner Purity and may now be called Little Purity. [Grub Street] Upper West Side: Blue Ribbon Six Columbus is poised to open this week, and here’s a sneak peak of the interior. [Zagat] West Village: Mary’s Dairy has closed both of its locations supposedly because the shops weren’t making enough money. Can ice-cream-only stores no longer cut it? Mary’s comes on the heels of Emack & Bolio's Seventh Avenue closure and Ben & Jerry’s Bleecker Street failure. [Eater] Williamsburg: Three of the ten-plus restaurants that serve sushi in the nabe made the cut in this Brooklyn raw-fish roundup. [Gridskipper]

Three Versions of Tailor; Paul Adams Bugs Out

Danyelle Freeman hits Tailor and finds its tiny menu and weird food ill-fitting the talents involved. “Mason glimpses at genius…” Restaurant Girl says, but “[y]ou leave Tailor still craving dessert.” Ouch! [NYDN] Moira Hodgson likes Tailor a little, giving the place two stars and only bemoaning the fact that there wasn't more of the food. “But the tastes were so tantalizing I came back another night to try everything again,” she says. [NYO] And then there's Randall Lane, who gives Tailor a four-star review. (Of course, that's out of six.) Still, it's a lot, but it seems to be mostly for Eben Freeman's cocktails. Lane found the food, especially the “sweet” half of the menu, to be a pretty mixed bag. [TONY]

It Isn't Easy Being Green; Grayz on the Stun Line

There are a few basic steps that restaurants and bars can follow to be considered “green,” but they don't happen automatically.[TONY] Steve Cuozzo leads Gray Kunz’s new cash cow to the slaughter, calling Grayz a draw “for suits wanting a slicker sandbox for babe-wrangling than nearby Connolly’s.” [NYP] Related: Gray Kunz Finds a Sweet New Business Model The Frankies of Spuntino fame have a third restaurant planned in Brooklyn and a new cookbook on the way. [Eater]

One Star and Thirteen Recommended Dishes for Centro Vinoteca; BLT Market Takes Its Lumps

Another somewhat capricious Frank Bruni review: He gives Centro Vinoteca one star, praising nearly everything he ate (there are thirteen recommended dishes) but complaining about the noise and crowds on the first floor and presumably on that basis withholding a second star. [NYT] Danyelle Freeman is so not impressed with BLT Market. According to her, the ingredients themselves aren’t even that good! But she likes the place enough to give it two stars anyway. [NYDN] The usually harder-to-please Alan Richman, on the other hand, had a much higher estimation of the place, except for the part about it smelling like shit. But that, he hopes, will pass with the warm weather. [Bloomberg]

Plate of Pig Liver Silences Bruni in Nolita; ‘Top Chef’ Contestant's Restaurant Will Be Speakeasy

Astoria: Coffee and desserts are available at Tell Astorya Cafe on 28th Avenue during events including Friday’s Independent Film nights and afternoon jazz on Saturday. [Joey in Astoria] Clinton Hill: Former Top Chefer Josie Smith-Malave has named her restaurant on Waverly and Greene Speakeasy. [Clinton Hill Blog] East Village: The food-feature documentary King Corn opens today at Cinema Village. [Cakehead] Flatiron: Centro Vinoteca’s Anne Burrell, Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez of Lassi, and Dos Caminos chef Ivy Stark will be cooking for next Thursday’s benefit for Women Chefs & Restaurateurs at the Prince George Ballroom. [Gothamist] Greenwich Village: Gray’s Papaya on 8th Street has endorsed Bloomberg for president because “he talks the talk, and he’ll walk the walk.” [Blog Chelsea] Nolita: Frank Bruni is actually at a loss for words to describe a favorite dish that Frank DeCarlo serves at Peasant: “the suckling pig liver will fascinate you because it tastes so very much like other liver you’ve had and yet … and yet … different, but in ways that are tough to pinpoint.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT]

Kudos to Park Avenue Autumn; Jeers to the Five Guys

Park Avenue Autumn's gimmicky concept might have turned Frank Bruni catty but for the fact that Craig Konketsu's cooking is so flawlessly brilliant. The place got two stars, and the review reads like three. [NYT] Paul Adams must be a happy man today just for the headline he came up with for his positive review of the cheese-centric newcomer Casellula: “The Cheese Stands Alone.” It sounds like it does, too, with what might be the best macaroni and cheese going. [NYS] Peter Meehan puts the Five Guys, and their deliberately dried-out, overrated burger, in their place; Julia Moskin gives Market Table its first praise, a measured and thoughtful mini-review. [NYT]

A Happy New York Ending for Gordo; Bruni Thinks Michelin Ratings ‘Just Nutty’

Gordon Ramsay at the London is the only new restaurant in town to earn two stars in the Michelin Guide, a conquest that’s especially sweet here where the chef is often maligned and/or mocked — by us, for example. [NYP] Related: Gordon Ramsay, Gay Icon Two of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's “lesser lights,” Vong and JoJo, have received the same Michelin rating as Café Boulud, and according to Bruni, “that’s just nutty.” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Jean-Georges has promoted a 24-year-old star sous-chef to be chef de cuisine at Perry St. [Eater]

Wakiya Earns a Second Bagel; Meehan Mistreated at BarFry

Wakiya's brief flirtation with the possibility of success seems to be over, now that Frank Bruni has concurred with Adam Platt by handing the restaurant what seems to be a well-deserved bagel. How long before it goes down for the dirt nap is anybody's guess. [NYT] Alan Richman, by the way, hates the place even worse. You don't even have to look beyond his subheads: “Preening.” “Small Portions.” “Incomprehensible Menu.” The bottom line? The place is wildly expensive and “Wakiya suffers from an absence of delights.” To say the least. [Bloomberg] Peter Meehan, though taking care to praise Josh DeChellis's cold dishes, had what sounds like a series of awful experiences at BarFry, with terrible service issues. Talk about picking the wrong guy to leave stranded with bottles in his hands! [NYT]

Bouley's New Japanese Restaurant Off the Chain; ‘Top Chef’ Producer Tells It Like It Is

The restaurant that David Bouley plans to open next year with Japan’s largest professional cooking school will be a multilevel space featuring a robata grill, a Japanese room with Western touches, and a kaiseki dining room serving Kyoto-style seasonal tasting menus. [NYT] Related: David Bouley to Open Restaurant With Japan's Top Cooking School Scott Bryan has left Veritas, and not for 10 Downing Street, apparently. And, in underwhelming FloFab news, Daniel Boulud still hasn't chosen a name for his master's burger restaurant, and Lever House's Deborah Snyder is the new pastry chef at Alto and L’Impero. [NYT] The executive producer of Top Chef answers questions about cheftestants who hook up and challenges that didn't make the cut. [NYDN]

Gemma Rewarded for Its Calculations; Tailor Makes a Fan

Frank Bruni, surprisingly grants Gemma a single star. Bruni sees the place as a slicker, less technically accomplished Morandi — an insta-enoteca calculated to the nth degree to please modern middlebrows. Which, we guess, is worth a single star these days. [NYT] Ryan Sutton is, as usual, the first to review Tailor, which he finds a molecular wonderland of trippy but delicious foods: exactly what a certain kind of restaurantgoer needs to hear to get the buzz going. [Bloomberg] Moira Hodgson thinks that Alex Ureña's new direction at Pamplona — modern, imaginative Spanish cookery minus the bells and whistles — is exactly what he needed and rewards him with two stars. “So this is bistro food? I don’t care what he calls it, it’s great.” [NYO]