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.
Zero Stars: 3-1
One Star: 4-1 √√
Two Stars: 15-1
Three Stars: 75-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1
The Skinny: It’s hard for a reviewed restaurant to be more obscure than this one. La Sirène—that’s French for The Mermaid—has been in business for nine months, and I can’t find a single professional review. How did it even come to Bruni’s notice? Well, it does seem to be popular in the gay community. (I am not suggesting that that’s its only attraction.)
The Eater odds today are really crazy. Frank has never pulled a restaurant “out of nowhere” to give it zero stars. It makes no sense to waste a reviewing slot on a place the critics have already ignored anyway, only to suggest that it’s not worth our time.
When Frank reviews a small, earnest restaurant that’s off the beaten path, the rating is usually two stars. After all, one star in the Bruniverse isn’t much of a compliment for restaurants above the level of a deli. One star used to mean “good,” but the truly good one star review is a rarity nowadays.
To the best of our recollection, this is the first time Bruni has reviewed a French restaurant that wasn’t, in some sense, “compelled.” La Sirène is a restaurant he could easily have skipped—after all, every other critic did. When Bruni goes out of his way, it’s usually Italian, Asian, or Steak. So what’s going on here? Bruni must really have been smitten.
We hesitate to jump on the deuce train. For one thing, it’s BYOB, and that’s a rare deficiency in a two-star restaurant (though not unheard of in the Bruni era). Also, what is the probability that there’s a two-star restaurant that every other critic completely overlooked? Assuming that chef Didier Pawlicki’s cuisine is worthy of Frank’s attention, the rating could come down to service, and we have no reliable data points from which to judge.
Our usual practice here is to bet on the most probable outcome, which we believe is one star. But we are positive that if Bruni bothered to put this restaurant on his reviewing rounds, he must have found something extremely compelling, and he would just love to pull the two-star trigger if he could. Therefore, Eater’s 15–1 odds on that outcome are just as crazy as Eater’s 3–1 odds on a goose egg.
Perhaps Eater is just toying with us, but we can’t leave an attractive 15–1 spot hanging like that.
The Bet: Although we believe one star is the most probable outcome, we are laying a wager on the huge payday that the Eater oddsmakers have offered, and are betting that Frank Bruni will award two stars to La Sirène.