Record to date: 8–3
We’ll be away for the next two weeks, and most likely will not be able to post our Review Previews in real time, so we’re posting them now.
Bruni has three reviews remaining. What will they be?
- Marea is a definite: there’s no way Bruni would pass up an upscale Italian place that opened on his watch.
- Eater.com reported that Bruni has been spoted three times recently at Eleven Madison Park. He wouldn’t be there so often in the twilight of his tenure unless he’s working up a re-review.
- The last one’s something of a wild card, but among places that must be reviewed (and a Boulud restaurant clearly fits this description), we are fairly certain that DBGB is the oldest outstanding.
Bruni has already reviewed Eleven Madison Park twice (two stars; 2/23/2005 and three stars; 1/10/2007). A promotion to four is the only conceivable reason to review it again. He has not named a new four-star restaurant since Masa in December 2004. The 4½-year gap is the longest in Times history, a record he set in the middle of last year. We and others believe that he’s itching to crown one more.
Unfortunately, that will leave poor Marea with three stars, as Bruni isn’t going to canonize two restaurants in under a month, when in almost five years he found none at all. We don’t think Marea is a four-star restaurant in any event, but given Bruni’s love-affair with Italian cuisine we thought he just might pull the trigger until we heard he was taking another hard look at Eleven Madison. (If the 11MP review doesn’t come through, then Mike White and Chris Cannon could still have a chance.)
Finally, DBGB: Most reviews we’ve seen (including our own) have been slightly less enthusiastic about this place than Bar Boulud at Lincoln Center, where Bruni awarded two stars. We therefore believe that DBGB will be rated a notch lower, at one star.
In summary, our predictions are: one star for DBGB, three stars for Marea, and four stars for Eleven Madison Park. Obviously, it’s possible that Bruni’s final reviews will include one or two other places, but we’re positive that Marea will be among the three.