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Rolling the Dice: Rosanjin

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 “Samurai” Bruni reviews Rosanjin, the Japanese kaiseki restaurant in TriBeCa. Eater’s official odds are as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 5-1
One Star: 3-1
Two Stars: 5-1
Three Stars: 30-1
Four Stars: 15,000-1

The Skinny: As Eater notes, Rosanjin “has generally flown below the radar.” I found only one review. Paul Adams of the Sun enjoyed himself, but thought that Sugiyama was better at half the price. Price, indeed, is the issue. Rosanjin’s prix fixe is $105–150, as opposed to $68 at Sugiyama. (When Adams dined at Rosanjin, he paid $150.)

Sugiyama carries three stars at the Times, dating from a 1999 Ruth Reichl review. Bruni is highly price-sensitive, so he’s not going to award three stars tomorrow unless Rosanjin is considerably better than Sugiyama. Adams didn’t think it was, and Bruni generally follows other people’s recommendations; he doesn’t lead them. To put it another way, it’s highly unlikely that there’s a three-star restaurant in the shadows that all the other critics have missed.

Yet, Bruni usually doesn’t review restaurants everyone else has ignored, only to insult them. For a restaurant at Rosanjin’s price level, anything below two stars would be an insult. On top of that, Bruni’s discretionary reviews — the restaurants he chooses to review, rather than those he must review — are usually two stars.

The Bet: No outcome below four stars would utterly surprise me, but I find three stars distinctly unlikely, and Eater hasn’t made the one-star odds (3–1) sufficiently enticing. Therefore, we are once again making the same bet as Eater: two stars for Rosanjin.

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