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The Payoff: Wakiya

Today, as expected, Ian Schrager is eating goose eggs and bagels for breakfast, as Frank Bruni dropped the hammer on the over-hyped Wakiya. Bruni has his bad days, but here he delivers a delicious takedown:

[T]here’s a crushing sense of letdown … an experience in which pleasures are flickering and unreliable, in which the slickness of the gleaming red-and-black setting and the poise of the best servers are undercut by inconsistent cooking and dishes that too often look three times as good as they taste.

Out comes the “fiery pepper hunt chicken,” one of Mr. Wakiya’s signature dishes. It’s a glittering hillock of bright red Chouten peppers, there to infuse the chicken with a tingly heat but not to be eaten, as your server playfully warns you. You tunnel with your chopsticks to the buried chunks of battered, wok-fried meat, and what’s your reward? Nuggets no more tender than those you retrieve from many a drive-through window.

Eater and I both both win $4 at 4–1 odds on our hypothetical one-dollar bets.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $45.50   $49.67
Gain/Loss +4.00   +4.00
Total $49.50   $53.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 20–5   19–6

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