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Review Preview: Monkey Bar

Record to date: 6–2

Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Monkey Bar, Graydon Carter’s midtown cafeteria for celebrities and wannabes.

The Skinny: The two relevant data points are Carter’s downtown restaurant, the Waverly Inn (one star; January 2007) and the imitation a few blocks away, Charles (goose egg, April 2009). In both reviews, Bruni wrote hilariously as his alias, Frannie von Furstinshow. Without that conceit, the reviews were entirely pointless.

Would he pull that stunt again, a mere two months later? No one has suggested there is actually important cooking being committed at the Monkey Bar. It’s a place where Graydon Carter decides who is A–List, who is B, and who is Nobody. Even Restaurant Girl was banished to Siberia. Don’t they know who she IS?

Not long ago, the restaurant disconnected its reservation line: too many nobodies were calling for not enough seats. You can e-mail for one of the few reservations not claimed by Carter’s friends, but if you’re not Barry Diller or Madonna, you’re probably not getting in. If you do, you’ll get the sorriest real-estate, and you’ll probably be over-paying for mediocre food.

Of course, mediocrity never stopped Frank from giving one star in the past, and it wouldn’t surprise us if he does again. But Monkey Bar, even more than the Waverly Inn, feels like a cynical exercise in crass showmanship, and we think Bruni will penalize it accordingly.

The Prediction: We predict that Frank Bruni will give no stars to the Monkey Bar

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