Record to date: 12–5
Tomorrow, the Sam Sifton era at The New York Times begins with a review of Daniel Boulud’s casual downtown burger-and-sausage joint, DBGB Kitchen & Bar.
The Odds: The Eater.com odds have returned, with a slightly different format: One Star Odds: 3-1; Two Stars: 4-1; Sift Happens: 45-1.
The Skinny: With its casual vibe, informal décor, and a menu of mainly burgers, charcuterie, and inexpensive classics, DBGB screams “one-star restaurant.” To get two stars, it would need to be extremely good.
Boulud has had the luxury of an unusually long break-in period. The restaurant opened in June, and most reviews appeared in July or August. Sifton’s review meals likely did not begin until September, giving Boulud plenty of time to correct flaws the earlier reviewers complained about.
Sifton’s choice of a first review is a significant contrast from Frank Bruni, who opened by re-affirming Babbo’s three-star rating. We didn’t know it at the time, but that review foreshadowed what the Bruni era would be about—a preference for Italian cuisine, the love of all things Batali, and a distinct dislike for formal dining. A review of DBGB is not likely to tell us nearly as much.
But if, as we suspect, Bruni-era star inflation is finally over, Sifton is hardly likely to blow a two-star kiss at DBGB, which wouldn’t leave him much room for the real two-star restaurants to come. At the same time, we don’t think he’d begin with a restaurant he dislikes, which leaves one star as the most likely outcome.
The Bet: We agree with Eater that Sam Sifton will award one star to DBGB.