Today, Frank Bruni loves the fried food at Centro Vinoteca, but there’s enough wrong with everything else to knock the restaurant down to one star:
Here’s the ordering guide you need for Centro Vinoteca: if you see the word fried, or if you see any apparent derivation of the Italian word fritto (which means fried), or if you see a word that calls to mind either of those other ones (e.g. fritter), get whatever it’s attached to. And get anything else that you suspect may be fried.
For quite a while, you’re sure Bruni has boarded the two-star train. He loves the piccolini (which means “very small things”), though he’s irritated that they’re listed on a separate menu:
An annoyance in addition to the deafening commotion is the presentation of that piccolini card apart from the rest of the menu, so that you can’t evaluate your interest in these snacks, which take on a compulsory air, before you’ve seen your other options. Is this method designed to guarantee larger aggregate food orders and higher tabs?
The complaints mount, and we realize Centro Vinoteca doesn’t have the angels on its side:
Ms. Burrell went overboard with a sloppy, heavy amalgam of lamb Bolognese, fried onions and fried gnocchi — it’s the fried exception that proves the fried rule. Her judgment erred as well with overly bitter broccoli rabe and Swiss chard ravioli.
Eater made the very reasonable guess that a Mario Batali protegée would get a sloppy, wet, two-star kiss from Frank, but it wasn’t to be—proving that even a Batali connection is no guarantee of Frank’s undying love. On our hypothetical $1 bets, NYJ wins $3, while Eater loses $1.
Eater NYJ Bankroll $53.50 $52.67 Gain/Loss –1.00 +3.00 Total $52.50 $55.67 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Won–Lost 21–6 20–7