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 Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill, the latest chain restaurant to invade the mall at Columbus Circle—it’s actually across the street, but that’s beside the point. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):
Zero Stars: 5-1
One Star: 2-1
Two Stars: 3-1 √√
Three Stars: 50-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1
The Skinny: In our view, all the BruniTrends® point to one star. Like most people, Bruni has been fairly cynical about the Columbus Circle restaurants. (His reviews of Masa and Per Se were raves, but those for V Steakhouse, Café Gray, Porter House, and Landmarc were anything but.)
On top of that, critical response to the latest Blue Ribbon has been muted—I gave it one star—and Bruni seldom bucks consensus. Bruni isn’t fond of restaurants with overly long menus, and at 168 items Blue Ribbon’s is as long as they come. Bruni has never been fond of chain restaurants. This Blue Ribbon is much larger than the others, and the restaurant will probably suffer for it.
I also think that sushi restaurants of approximately this quality (or better) are a commodity in New York, and a restaurant needs to be a lot more intriguing than this to warrant two stars. It certainly isn’t cheap enough to warrant two stars on price alone. That’s just my view, but I believe Frank Bruni would say the same.
Eater does make an intriguing point: it seems a little pointless to waste a review on the 8th Blue Ribbon restaurant “if it’s just going to be for a single star.” But it seemed a little pointless last week to review Barbuto, when it hasn’t changed since the last review, and the only seriously recommendable dish is the chicken. Signor Bruni did just that. The fact is that we’re in a rather slow season for new restaurants, but Bruni still needs to find something to review every week.
The Bet: For the second week in a review, we disagree with Eater, and bet that Frank Bruni will award one star to Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill.