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The Payoff: Commerce

Today, Commerce gets a well-deserved smack-down with a one-star review from Frank Bruni:

The memo apparently went out, and those New Yorkers versed in showing up at the right new places right when they’re supposed to have descended on Commerce in style and in droves. That makes it either exhilarating or enervating, depending on your age, your mood and the strength of your eardrums…

Commerce in one sense evokes the Waverly Inn and in another emulates Balthazar. But in the end it isn’t like either of them, which becomes clear when the menu arrives and, in its wake, the food.

[Chef Harold Moore] … creates a rankling dissonance, his dishes beseeching a closeness of attention that the frenzied atmosphere doesn’t easily permit.

And he errs. While there’s some wonderful food that reflects the talent he showed and the experience he received at Montrachet and then March, there’s also some food that’s not cooked or seasoned as it should be, and there’s food that’s too fussy, not just for the ambience but also for its own good.

I never root for restaurants to fail, but I must confess I am delighted that Bruni didn’t fall for this mess. We’ve seen far too many restaurants attempting to serve three-star food in zero-star surroundings, with the aim of earning two stars. Enough is enough.

Unfortunately, we didn’t trust our gut, so we lose $1 on our hypothetical bet. So does Eater.

              Eater       NYJ
Bankroll $88.50   $99.67
Gain/Loss –1.00   –1.00
Total $87.50   $98.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 38–16   38–16

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