Record to date: 5–2
Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Aldea, George Mendes’s lovely new Portuguese spot in the Flatiron District.
The Skinny: Everybody loves Aldea. We loved Aldea, giving it 2½ stars. Among the other star-bestowing critics, Restaurant Girl and Bloomberg’s Ryan Sutton both awarded three. Alan Richman has a rave in GQ, published earlier today. He doesn’t do stars, but in review that compares Mendes to Alain Ducasse, there’s little doubt about where he stands.
The misanthropic Adam Platt awarded a more circumspect two stars in New York, as is his wont, adding that “If the menu were slightly larger, we’d add another.”
Bruni has never panned a place that all of the other critics liked, so we figure that Aldea is a shoo-in for at least two stars. (Remember, if you’re a neophyte at this, that two stars is a compliment, even though it’s only half of the way to the top rank of four stars.)
Could Aldea get three stars from Frank Bruni? Aldea is a good deal better than at least half-a-dozen places that have received that honor from him, so it’s a distinct possibility. If it were Italian, you could pencil in the third star right now. As it is merely Portuguese, he’ll be grading on a different curve, and we suspect it will fall a hair short. Adam Platt’s ratings tend to correlate with Bruni’s, and Platt gave an enthusiastic deuce.
The Prediction: We wouldn’t mind being wrong, but we believe that Frank Bruni will award two stars to Aldea.