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Rolling the Dice: Nish

Every week, we take our turn with Lady Luck on the BruniBetting odds as posted by Eater. Just for kicks, we track Eater’s bet too, and see who is better at guessing what the unpredictable Bruni will do. We track our sins with an imaginary $1 bet every week.

The Line: Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Nish, the casual makeover of the former three-star March. Eater’s official odds are as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 5-1
One Star: 8-3
Two Stars: 4-1 √√
Three Stars: 90-1
Four Stars: 15,000-1

The Skinny: For the first time in a while, almost any outcome is possible (except for four stars). March was a three-star restaurant. The last time he was there, Bruni loved the food, but he found the servers’ cult-like reverence for chef Wayne Nish a little off-putting. He also thought that its “dowager refinement” was overdue for a makeover — precisely as Nish has now done. Bruni’s track record is that he actually likes restaurants better when they’re more casual. If the food is as good as Steve Cuozzo says, Nish could be headed for the trifecta.

But Cuozzo also found irritating service glitches, and if Bruni found the same, he’s likely to blow the whistle and march off a one-star penalty. I also suspect the cult-of-the-chef mentality—something Bruni seldom finds endearing—isn’t totally gone. Indeed, given the name change, that factor could be even more prominent than before. If Bruni isn’t as wowed by the food as Cuozzo, then there’s no telling how low we could go.

The Bet: Eater—betting against its own odds—is taking the two-star action. We think that the chances of a three-star payoff are a whole lot better than Eater says, making the 90–1 odds awfully tempting. But we think the chances for a singleton are very real too, so we will compromise in the middle, and bet on two stars.

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