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Neil Barrett

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HarperCollins Passes Over NYT Meanies for Kinder, Gentler WSJ

Today’s Observer has a story on disgraced memoirist James Frey who, remarkably enough, just sold a new novel to HarperCollins. Last week, Eric Simonoff, Frey’s swashbuckling agent, handed the big scoop to the Wall Street Journal — which more or less equates to a big honking F-U to the New York Times. “The New York Times has never been a friend to James Frey,” Simonoff sniffed to the Observer. Um, that’s putting it rather mildly: In his year-end column, Frank Rich grouped Frey with 2006 “villains” Mel Gibson and Michael Richards, saying, “It was a thrill beyond schadenfreude to watch them be soundly thrashed and humiliated for their sins.”

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Bruni Maintains Luger's Middling Reputation; Bar Fry's Tempura More Varied Than You'd Think

Frank Bruni complains about the steak, the service, the sides, and the salad at Peter Luger but caves and hands it two stars. [NYT] Restaurant Girl gives Elio’s two and a half stars, citing its “charming lure of old-world” Italian, code for a menu that has barely changed in 26 years. [NYDN] Alan Richman visits Il Mulino and in crushing it strikes a blow against “this style of oversized, oversauced, overcooked cuisine” with all the force he can muster. [Bloomberg]

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Queens Restaurant Week Is Upon Us

Queens Restaurant Week
The idea of Queens Restaurant Week, we maintain, isn’t as ridiculous as it sounds. Sure, the borough is defined by great restaurants that cost next to nothing, so a $20.07 dinner special may not sound worth schlepping to Elmhurst for. But in fact, anything that brings people to Queens is worthwhile; its restaurants are the source material for so much of what is happening in Manhattan, and most chefs, at least privately, will admit that the ethnic kitchens of Bayside and Jackson Heights are usually better than their midtown emulators.

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