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The Payoff: Anthos

As expected, Frank Bruni awarded the deuce to Anthos. It was as enthusiastic as Frank gets at the two-star level, and he implied that the restaurant fell only a whisker short of three:

[Anthos is] the restaurant you might get if you triangulated between Onera and Dona. It has the former’s resoundingly Greek soul. It has the latter’s fussy tics and more sophisticated wine list, with sommeliers who can guide you through the impressive advances of Greek winemaking.

It’s better than its predecessors, although it doesn’t come together quite smoothly or sharply enough to loft Mr. Psilakis and Ms. Arpaia to the level they clearly aspire to and will almost certainly reach.

The review marks the return of Fussy Frank. As we’ve often remarked, Frank does not like fine dining—a peculiar deficiency in a critic assigned to cover high-end restaurants. And “fussy” is his favorite word when he feels he’s been pampered too much.

The precise reasons for the two-star rating border on incoherent. He says, “Much of the cooking is inspired, and much of it is excellent.” What’s the Venn Diagram for that statement? Is some of the food inspired, but not excellent? Excellent, but not inspired? Later on, the servers’ exuberance “communicates a self-consciousness that only a few of the dishes are transcendent enough to justify,” and “not everything that arrives is worth the wait.”

Later still, “the ratio of hits to misses is better at Anthos than at Dona” (a restaurant he loved), but he wishes “the kitchen’s efforts” were “just a little more selective and straightforward.” Good luck making any sense of that smorgasbord of “almost…but not quite” sentences. The one thing he makes clear is that he likes this restaurant better than any Arpaia/Psilakis production to date, but in the end, lands at the same two-star rating given to the rest of them.

Eater and I both placed identical $1 winning bets on Anthos at 2–1 odds, so each of us wins a hypothetical $2.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $28.00   $30.67
Gain/Loss +$2.00   +$2.00
Total $30.00   $32.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 12–2   11–3

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