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Rolling the Dice: Chop Suey

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 Times Square’s latest Chinese restaurant, Chop Suey. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 4-1
One Star: 3-1 √√
Two Stars: 6-1
Three Stars: 25-1
Four Stars: 5,000-1

The Skinny: Chop Suey has attracted a little bit of critical attention, thanks to its two “consulting chefs,” Zak Pelaccio (savories) and Will Goldfarb (desserts). The Post’s Steve Cuozzo loved it. New Yorker’s Ligaya Mishan wasn’t impressed at all. Cuozzo’s tastes are notoriously opposite of Frank Bruni’s, so we’re more inclined to trust Mishan.

In case the term “consulting chef” is new to you, it basically means they phoned in a couple of menu ideas, pocketed a fee, and have hardly visited the place since it opened. Pelaccio and Goldfarb are talented guys, but these days no one can keep track of all their projects. We don’t expect Bruni to look favorably on chefs who can’t be bothered to show up, and Bruni has never been much of a Goldfarb fan anyway.

If the online menu is accurate, appetizers at Chop Suey average around $15, and entrées around $30, which means you can’t get out of there for less than $50 a head, assuming you drink cokes. That’s a lot of money for Chinese food. It had better be good, or Bruni will bring out his hatchet in a hurry.

Ordinarily we’d be grabbing the zero-star odds, but we hesitate for a couple of reasons. In Times Square, there’s a zero-star restaurant every fifteen feet. It’s one of the city’s few neighborhoods where you expect every restaurant to be bad. Is there any news value in a zero-star review of a Times Square restaurant, especially one that most of the city’s other critics ignored?

The Bet: We agree with Eater that Frank Bruni will “award” —we use the term loosely — one star to Chop Suey.

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