We agree with Eater that neither the goose egg nor the trifecta is likely. The Times doesn’t pick restaurants out of nowhere, only to trash them. And we also subscribe to the view that three-star restaurants do not hide in plain sight. That leaves one and two as the only remotely possible outcomes.
Ruth Reichl awarded one star to Novita fifteen years ago. There are many, many restaurants that have gotten a star in the Times and were never reviewed again. With the vast majority of reviews being given to new places or old ones where a substantial change has taken place, Times critics don’t have much time for re-reviewing run-of-the-mill one-star places, only for the purpose of re-affirming the original rating.
It could be, of course, that Novita is simply one of Sifty’s old stand-bys, and he is happy to spend one of his precious review slots to bump it up on the radar screen without claiming that anything significant has changed since Reichl reviewed it. A one-star review therefore would not shock us.
But as we must make a guess, we think that Sifton would not review this place without upgrading it. Therefore, we predict that he will award two stars to Novita.