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The Payoff: Bar Blanc

In today’s Times, Frank Bruni makes the remarkable discovery that some places called “Bar ______” aren’t really bars in the usual sense:

In an era of casual dressing, piecemeal supping and food as the adjunct to wine, is a restaurant’s best bet to pretend it’s less than it is? Should it persuade diners that it doesn’t harbor big ambitions or demand close attention, even if the opposite is true?

These are questions brought to mind by Bar Blanc, which belongs to a growing brood of establishments whose names suggest scruffier atmospheres and more modest menus than the places actually present.

Among its semantic siblings is Bar Stuzzichini, a fairly full-fledged Italian restaurant that opened last year, and Bar Milano, an apparently full-fledged Italian restaurant scheduled to open next month.

And then of course there’s Bar Boulud, a new French restaurant — yes, restaurant — that doesn’t even have a proper bar. Misleading nomenclature comes naturally to the chef Daniel Boulud, whose Café Boulud bears no resemblance to a café and whose DB Bistro Moderne isn’t anything oike a bistro.

Oh, yes. What about the food? Two stars.

We’ll admit it: We were very close to betting on just one star. But we didn’t. So Eater and NYJ both win $3 on our hypothetical one-dollar bets.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $65.50   $81.67
Gain/Loss +3.00   +3.00
Total $68.50   $84.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 31–14   32–13

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