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Frank Bruni

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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]

O'Reilly Amazed at Politeness of Black Diners; Insieme's Paul Grieco Gets His Due

Bill O’Reilly amazed upon dining at Sylvia’s in Harlem: “It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun.” [NYP] Related: Black People, They're Just Like Us! [Daily Intel] Insieme co-owner Paul Grieco seamlessly manages both the front and back of the house, a talent often overlooked in restaurants. [NYT] The Post's top ten overrated restaurants include Nobu, the Corner Bistro, and the Carnegie Deli. [NYP]

Borough Food and Drink Solves a Sudden Chef Crisis

BFD
Earlier this month, Frank Bruni assailed Borough Food and Drink for its service, referring to it as “loopy, stop-and-go befuddlement.” How did that happen in a Jeffrey Chodorow restaurant? Turns out chef Paul Williams took ill and Bruni visited during his absence. Williams has taken a temporary leave from the restaurant, a publicist says, and the kitchen is now under the control of former Asia de Cuba chef Robert Trainor, an old Chodorow hand. No word yet on when Williams will return, but we hope it’s soon. Related: Dining Briefs [NYT]

Frying Pan Secure for Next Five Years; Whole Foods Selling Flat Beer on the LES?

Chelsea: The Frying Pan has signed a five-year lease that will begin next May. [Chelsea Now via Eater] Clinton Hill: Get your Oktoberfest on with a beer, cider, and sausage fest at 55 Lexington Avenue on September 29. [A Brooklyn Life] East Harlem: Italian Americans are still mourning the August closure of Morrone & Sons bakery on East 116th Street. Especially the 72-year-old matron who opened the shop in 1956. [NYT] Fort Greene: Crisp artichokes make a great burger topping at 67, even when the beef is greasy and overcooked. [Eat for Victory/VV] Jackson Heights: Jackson Diner and Rajbhog Sweets are among some 85 restaurants participating in Queens Restaurant Week running September 17 to 20 and 24 to 27. [About.com] Lower East Side: Whole Foods should top off beer-container refills with CO2 if they care about customers getting home to find flat beer. [Eat] Park Slope: Frank Bruni was inundated with responses to his feature on handicapped-accessible restaurants, including one about his “beloved Franny’s” who wouldn’t slice “a pizza for someone who had just undergone neurosurgery on her (writing) hand because ‘the chef doesn’t do that.’” [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Soho: Barcelona’s artisanal-candy chain Papabubble has settled on a U.S. location at 380 Broome Street and an opening date of October 18. [Papabubble via Down by the Hipster]

Bruni Finds Bar Stuzzichini Good Enough; Sietsema Worships Insieme

Frank Bruni gives Bar Stuzzichini one star, praising its small plates (which give him his obligatory Zeitgeist paragraphs at the top) and then pointing out that the room and service are basically that of a “midtown mess hall.” The moral? Aim low, price right, and execute, and the critics will give you the guarded praise you need to stay open. [NYT] Here's one we never would have predicted in a million years: Insieme getting the panegyric it deserves from Robert “horsehead soup in the Bronx” Sietsema. Interestingly, the one thing he didn't like was the lasagne, which was the place's proudest boast when it first opened. [VV] We predicted recently that it was just a matter of time before someone came down on Wakiya, but we never dreamed it would be Danyelle Freeman. She hits the place hard, mostly for the “dull” and “skimpy” food but, not a killer at heart, gives them credit for service, cocktails, and soup dumplings. But it won't be long before another, meaner critic really lets it fly. [NYND]

Olives the Nightclub? Bring On an International Box

Todd English may want to get in on the hip parade surrounding La Esquina by opening his own Kenmare spot with nightlife guru Joe Vicari. [NYP] There’s a rumor that Simon Hammerstein wants to open an international Box and bring his gross anthems to London. [Down by the Hipster] Related: Narcissistic and Highly Intoxicated Box Patrons Want Totally Gross Anthems, Says Owner Could Kyotofu and its killer cupcake be expanding with a space downtown? [Eater] Related: Best Cupcake 2007 [NYM]

Franny’s Gets the All-Purpose Two Stars; Southern Hospitality Praised for Its BBQ

Franny’s is the recipient of one of Frank Bruni’s periodic low-end caprices, and gets awarded an absurd two stars as a result. [NYT] Paul Lukas, a pretty serious student of barbecue, delivers the verdict on the new barbecues, and the surprise is that Southern Hospitality has some pretty damn good Memphis ribs. Hill Country, it goes without saying, gets lauded as the best BBQ in town. [NYS] Related: Insatiable Critic: Southern Hospitality “Rivulets of delicious grease are a common theme” is the key note to Paul Adams's review of Borough Food and Drink. Mmmm…grease…. [NYS]

Tailor Open; Marcus Samuelsson in Cahoots With Starbucks

Put down your roman à clef! Tailor had its soft opening last night. [Down by the Hipster] Related: What to Read While You Wait for Tailor to Open — Sam Mason: The Novel Five recipes from Marcus Samuelsson's cookbook Discovery of a Continent: Foods, Flavors and Inspirations from Africa were developed by a team from Starbucks as part of a deal that also includes the introduction of baked items and coffee blends sold under the chef's name. [Eat for Victory/VV] The closing of Dévi makes Frank Bruni sad, and in his elegy to the restaurant, he ponders our take on Suvir Saran's motives. [Diner's Journal/NYT] Related: Debriefing Dévi: Suvir Saran’s Suspected Side Projects

Thor Struck Down on the LES; Bruni Rides the Bull in Midtown West?

Clinton Hill: Recent openings: Manee Thai from the owners of Myrtle Thai and Nuevo Latino spot Tamboril. [Clinton Hill Blog] Coney Island: The world’s largest “lollypop” has been installed by an artist to commemorate Philip’s Candy (1930–2001). [Kinetic Carnival] Long Island City: LIC Bar at 45-58 Vernon Boulevard is hosting a BBQ and free concert with local bands this Sunday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. [Joey in Astoria] Lower East Side: Thor gets gutted with no warning. [Eater] Midtown West: Frank Bruni contemplated riding the bull at Johnny Utah’s. [Diner’s Journal/NYT] Prospect Heights: Rye with fresh blackberries, mint, and ginger beer, and gin with peaches and homemade thyme syrup are among cocktails available at Flatbush Farm Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. during a farmer’s-market tasting event. [A Brooklyn Life]

Cuozzo Likes Wakiya; Bruni, Platt Agree on Rayuela

Steve Cuozzo bucks the early bad buzz on Wakiya, praising the place but cautioning that the chef will only be around one week a month. [NYP] Related: We Catch Wakiya’s First Guests on the Street Alan Richman submits a rare rave review for Soto, saying of its hot dishes “not one was less than wonderful. This is cooked food on a par with the most ingenious in New York.” Soto-san has to be pretty happy with that. [Bloomberg] Restaurant Girl’s debut in the Daily News takes the form of a mixed review on Gemma: She liked the branzino and the atmosphere, the other dishes not so much. Nothing in the write-up suggests that they were unduly influenced by knowing who she was. [NYDN] Related: Restaurant Girl Has a Face For Reviewing

Tycoons Tipping Badly; Goldfarb Is a Big, Bright, Shining Star

Wall Street big shots, frantic over stock-market fluctuations, are taking it out on the poor waiters who live on their tips. [NYP] Will Goldfarb holds forth to Restaurant Girl at great length on his “brand identity”: “I think that Room 4 Dessert would definitely be credited with starting the pastry chef trend as crossover/rock star status that it has found in the media in the last 18 months.” Oh, definitely. [Restaurant Girl] Related: Room 4 Dessert Is Dead, Long Live Room 4 Dessert Frank Bruni tries to get in on the Top Chef action but has it all wrong: “Has Top Chef ever had a villain as obnoxious as Howie?” A villain? What show is he watching? [Diner's Journal/NYT] Related: Truces and Vanilla Candles Ruin This Week's ‘Top Chef’

When All Fails, What Else? A Country Song

FINANCE • The nation's largest mortgage lender, Countrywide Financial, almost out of credit. Oh. No. [NYP] • Recent hedge-fund woes look far from contained — they've even inspired a country song. [DealBook/NYT] • Chuck Schumer's bright new plan for taxing private equity: raise taxes on all partnerships, not just big firms like Blackstone. How Democratic. [Reuters via DealBook/NYT]

‘Industry’ Types Baffled by Restaurant Girl

Danyelle Freeman
Blowback continues from Restaurant Girl’s surprise appointment to the vacant Daily Snooze chair, which has somehow managed to make the somnolent paper relevant again, if only for a day. The industry backbiters over at PXThis have their own nasty ideas about Danyelle Freeman's new assignment. The best comments, after the jump.

Monkey Bar Gets Hit; Three Stars for Café Boulud

Paul Adams liked some things about Monkey Bar, but it’s never a good sign if you hire a famous Chinese chef (Patricia Yeo) and the review includes the words “My neighborhood Chinese takeout does better dumplings.” [NYS] Café Boulud, in an important rereview, gets three stars — enough to add momentum to Daniel Boulud’s empire building. [NYT] Insieme looks dull, observes Lauren Collins in The New Yorker, but “profligate flavor and spirited service” show themselves once the food starts coming. [NYer]

Whole Foods’ Master Plan Revealed; Chodorow Back on the Warpath

Whole Foods’ master plan for local domination, code-named (no kidding) Project Goldmine, is accidentally released to the public by federal regulators. [NYT] Jeffrey Chodorow’s war against Frank Bruni continues with another Times ad. [Eater] Buddhists buy $7,000 worth of eels, frogs, and turtles from Chinatown markets and then release the fortunate animals into the Passaic River. Where they immediately died from toxic shock. (Okay, we made the last part up.) [NYP]

Gordon Ramsay Suit Tossed; Vendy Nominations Open

If there’s a halal-chicken guy on your corner whom you think is unappreciated, now’s your chance to do right by him: Nominations have opened up for the Vendy Awards. [Gothamist] A judge has tossed out the suit against Gordon Ramsay brought by the manager of Dillons for acts committed in the name of reality TV. [NYP] Simon Oren, the owner of new French bistro Charolais, double-crossed the Insatiable Critic, and she isn’t happy about it. [Insatiable Critic] Related: New French Bistro Has an Old Soul

Red Hook Vendors on the Run Again; Bourdain on ‘Top Chef’

With the Parks Department temporarily off their back, the Red Hook food vendors now have a new enemy: the ever-mischievous Department of Health. [Serious Eats] Related: The Threat to Red Hook’s Street-Food Paradise Unites New York Foodies Anthony Bourdain doesn’t have any sympathy for last night’s Top Chef loser, Sara: “I've worked with women cooks who could crank out a hundred fifty meals off a very busy grill station in freakin’ stilettos and still have the energy to give Howie the beating of his life — so that don't cut it as an excuse.” Bonus: Bourdain on Rocco’s career arc. [Bravo] Related: Joey, Latest ‘Top Chef’ Non-Winner, on Why Rocco Is a Douche Bag The hidden food treasures of the Bronx range from an ancient candy store where you can get a classic egg cream to a Chino-Latino place with great shrimp mofungo. [NYP]