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Rolling the Dice: Ago

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 visits Ago—that’s pronounced “Ah-go”—in Robert De Niro’s Greenwich Hotel. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 3-1 √√
One Star: 2-1
Two Stars: 6-1
Three Stars: 25-1
Four Stars: 1,000-1

The Skinny: By all accounts, Ago is a formulaic trattoria. The nominal chef, Agostino Sciandri, for whom the restaurant is named, spends no time in New York, and apparently doesn’t intend to. Ago might be a one-star restaurant if everything were working perfectly. The trouble is, it’s not that impressive. Alan Richman didn’t think so, and neither did we.

As Eater notes, Ago is “goose-train eligible.” Bruni normally doesn’t review obscure restaurants only to trash them, but where you’ve got a celebrity owner, a celebrity chef, and a well publicized opening, then nobody’s safe. Bruni is on record with the view that:

…the definition of one star as “good” would quickly lose any meaning if the review space didn’t occasionally present examples, and reviews, of restaurants that fall below that mark. That argues for zero-star reviews from time to time.

To Bruni, “occasionally” has usually translated into a handful of zero-star reviews per year, but he has issued no goose-eggs since he rated Harry Cipriani POOR in November 2007. That’s seven months ago. The goose train is overdue.

The Bet: We agree with Eater that Frank Bruni will award no stars to Ago.

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