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Rolling the Dice: Rouge Tomate

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 Rouge Tomate. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 3-1
One Star
: 4-1
Two Stars: 3-1 √√
Three Stars
: 60-1
Four Stars
: 20,000-1

The Skinny: This week’s Eater odds reflect real uncertainty about this restaurant. In many ways, it’s not the kind of place you’d expect Bruni to love.

Rouge Tomate is like an upscale health spa. It serves the nutritionally balanced meals your mother always told you to eat. There’s no evidence that Bruni likes this type of food. This is the guy who once ate two porterhouses in one evening. It’s also a Belgian import, and Bruni doesn’t love Northern European food. Lastly, it’s on the expensive side, and Bruni tends to weigh price heavily in his star calculations.

Yet, anything lower than two stars would be an insult for this glitzy place. Bruni doesn’t mind delivering a smackdown, but he doesn’t usually choose targets that most of the other critics ignored. The only MSM review to date is four stars from Restaurant Girl, and while I don’t think RG is a good index to Bruni’s thinking, it shows there’s at least one person who likes the food—even if it’s a bit too preachy for its own good.

In hiis new year’s post, Bruni lamented “how under-served and shortchanged the Upper East Side is.” When he wrote that, he probably knew that Rouge Tomate would be his first review of 2009. Now that Bruni finally has a chance to review a restaurant on the UES—something he has rarely done—it’s hard to imagine that he would say, “Don’t bother.”

The Bet: Will Bruni come to praise Caesar Salad or to bury it? We agree with Eater that Bruni will award two stars to Rouge Tomate.

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