Today, Frank Bruni damns Rouge Tomate with faint praise, awarding one-star:
…for all its glimmer and good intentions, Rouge Tomate falters somewhat. While about a quarter of the dishes are knockouts, at least as many are overly calculated and fastidious, suggesting there’s such a thing as too much balance.
The review is fair enough on its own terms, given that Bruni wasn’t going to fall in love with this type of food, no matter how well it was done. However, one comment seemed off-key:
There’s a super-deluxe grandness to its setting that suddenly seems dated in the extreme, a vestige of headier, more hedonistic times. It had a fin de siècle feel…
Of course, Bruni knows that the over-the-top décor was planned in better times. He also knows that most recessions last no more than a year or two, after which Rouge Tomate could be suddenly ahead of its time. Perhaps this recession will be worse—nobody really knows—but it’s no reason to be condemning excellence.
As we noted yesterday, there were ample reasons for believing Frank Bruni would not love this place, along with ample others for believing—as Eater and I both did—that he would grant a second star. The uncertainty was reflected in the odds, wherein any outcome from zero to two stars was reasonably likely. That doesn’t happen very often.
We and Eater both lose $1 on our hypothetical bets.
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