Our weekly BruniBetting contest with Eater has been on hiatus for the past couple of months. That included a couple of weeks when we were on vacation, and another few when Eater posted its predictions too late in the day for us to respond. (Is that a conscious strategy on Eater’s part?)
Four weeks ago, Bruni awarded three stars to Matsugen. We were quite a bit less impressed, awarding two for the food, but deducting a half-star for ambiance. Eater made its most reckless bet ever, putting its dollar on four stars at 9–1 odds, while conceding that three stars was the more likely outcome. We would certainly not have taken the four-star bet. Knowing that Bruni actually awards bonus stars to restaurants without tablecloths, we probably would have taken the three-star bet.
Three weeks ago, Bruni awarded two stars to Perbacco. Eater, overriding his own odds for the second straight week, bet on two stars at 4–1 odds, while admitting that one star was the more likely outcome. We’re not sure how we would have bet, but Eater’s logic was compelling: “The Bruni loves Italian food and loves putting a legitimate sleeper on the map,” and “The other thing that’s in play this week is the Little Owl Theorem, which gets very small restaurants with moderate price, earnest service and overachieving food two stars.” We have no personal experience here, but our sense is that Bruni, as is his wont, rated, the unassuming neighborhood one star too high.
Two weeks ago, for the second time this year, Bruni took the week off.
Last week, Bruni couldn’t find a real restaurant to review, so he awarded one star to the NoLIta train wreck, Elizabeth. We awarded one star too, but that was probably generous, and it was before they fired the chef. Bruni doesn’t normally pull marginal candidates out of the woodwork only to destroy them, so we would have agreed with Eater that one star was the only possible bet.
Finally, we come to this week’s review, arguably another wasted slot: no stars for Michael’s. No one that pays the slightest attention to the food scene has paid attention to Michael’s since the Clinton administration, but it actually had two stars at one time. We’ll allow Bruni one diversion per year to slay a celebrity icon past its prime. Eater took the one-star bet, but I suspect we would have put our buck on zero.