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Review Preview: The Breslin

Tomorrow, Sam Sifton takes on the latest April Bloomfield/Ken Friedman production, the insanely crowded Breslin in the Ace Hotel. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows: Goose Egg: 50–1 ; One Star: 4–1; Two Stars: EVEN; Three Stars: 10–1; Four Stars: 25,000–1.

We haven’t yet been to the Breslin, and we hear it’s practically impossible to get a table at the hours most people want to eat, unless you’re prepared to wait an awfully long time. Sifton probably didn’t endure those waits, but he cannot have been insensible to the plight of those who do.

We think that Eater is grossly over-stating the certainty of a two-star review. The Times dining section is being run by adults now, and two stars is no longer the default rating for ambitious comfort food served in a zero-star environment. To the contrary, we think Sifton comes into this place planning on one star, and the food would need to be an out-of-the-park home run to overcome the restaurant’s many drawbacks.

So, while a two-star review wouldn’t surprise us, we don’t think it’s four times as likely as a one-star review, as the Eater odds imply. We hope nobody is actually betting on our advice, as our predictions since Sifton took over have not been very accurate. Nevertheless, we will buck the Eater odds today, and bet on one star for the Breslin.

Reader Comments (2)

1:1 (0.5) is only 2.5 times more likely than 4:1 (0.2).

Separately, I also really wish Eater would offer odds that actually made sense. At the stated odds, it's possible to place a bet that would lead to making money regardless of the outcome of the review, which is sort of dumb. Just a pet peeve of mine, I guess.

January 12, 2010 | Unregistered Commentertaion

You are entirely correct about the odds; that was very careless of me.

The Eater odds never make mathematical sense. If an actual casino offered those odds, you could just bet on one star every time and make a mint. (One star is the most common outcome, and the odds offered are always at least even money, and usually a lot better than that.)

Eater is usually correct (though not this week) about the order of the probabilities—which is most, second-most, third-most likely, and so forth—but not the actual odds. In any case, most restaurants come down to just a couple of realistic possibilities. For the Breslin, it was one or two stars. The probability of any other outcome was close to zero.

January 12, 2010 | Registered CommenterMarc Shepherd

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