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Rolling the Dice: Gottino and Terroir

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 files a wine-bar twofer, looking in on Terroir (East Village) and Gottino (West Village). The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 2-1
One Star: 3-1
Two Stars: 6-1
Three Stars: 50-1
Four Stars: 10,000-1

Zero Stars: 4-1
One Star: 2-1
Two Stars: 4-1
Three Stars: 50-1
Four Stars: 10,000-1

The Skinny: We bettors are out of our element today, as neither of these is a traditional review target. It’s not even clear what the star system means when applied to a wine bar. But His Frankness has chosen them, so we’ll place our bets.

In our view, one star is the floor for both of these places. Bruni doesn’t normally review wine bars at all. With so many to choose from, why waste space on one he doesn’t like? The question is, could either of them get two?

At Gottino, the chef is Jody Williams. Her last experience with the star system is one she’d rather forget: a one-star hazing at Morandi that read like zero. (She has since left the restaurant.) We don’t think Bruni will pick on her again. Besides, the other critics have actually liked Gottino, including the Underground Gourmet for New York (three hollow stars out of five), Jacqui Gal for MetroMix (3½ stars out of five), and Robert Sietsema for the Village Voice.

Terroir is the work of two really smart guys, Marco Canora and Paul Grieco, who have two terrific restaurants already to their credit, Hearth and Insieme. Here as well, the reviews have been positive, including Ed Levine at Serious Eats and Paul Adams for The Sun. We liked it too, though our visit was on opening night, so we didn’t assign a rating.

The ceiling for Terroir is set by Canora and Grieco’s other two restaurants. Bruni awarded two stars to the more ambitious Insieme, while Amanda Hesser did the same for Hearth, which actually actually supplies many of the items that Terroir’s non-existent kitchen can’t produce itself. Terroir is lots of fun, but unless Frank is crazy it has to be a star lower than the other two places.

With Gottino, we have less to go on, but we’re having trouble imagining what a two-star wine bar would be like.

The Bet: We are betting that Frank Bruni will award one star apiece to Gottino and Terroir.

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