Entries in Cabrito (2)


The Payoff: Cabrito

Today, as we half-expected, Frank Bruni files a largely redundant one-star review of Cabrito:

Visited on its best nights and judged by its best dishes, Cabrito is the Mexican restaurant so many of us dreamed about for so long … .

Much of the time, that is. There’s a qualification in the first sentence up top and a digression right here because Cabrito is afflicted by an inconsistency that’s puzzling, even maddening, in the sense that you don’t want anything challenging the exhilaration you can so easily and rightly feel about this special place.

There are dishes that don’t seem, by nature, to rise to the caliber of others, and dishes that aren’t dependable from one visit to the next.

In the wagering department, we took a literal “roll of the dice” on two stars, and lose a dollar on our hypothetical bet, while Eater wins $2.

  Eater   NYJ
Bankroll $108.50   $128.67
Gain/Loss +2.00   –1.00
Total $110.50   $127.67
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 50–23   51–22

Rolling the Dice: Cabrito

The Line: Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Cabrito, the West Village Mexican place helmed by Fatty Crab alumnus David Schuttenberg. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 4-1
One Star: 2-1 √√
Two Stars: 5-1
Three Stars: 500-1
Four Stars: 20,000-1

The Skinny: When we heard about this review, our initial reaction was, “Why bother?” It seemed like an obvious one-star place, which in Timesspeak usually means “uneven.” Julia Moskin more-or-less delivered that verdict in a May 2008 Dining Brief. Why give it more ink, just to deliver the same message a mere eight months later?

The only other clue comes in Frank Bruni’s year-end retrospective, in which he says that Cabrito’s “best dishes — including the carnitas with salsa verde and the roasted poblano peppers in cream — match those at just about any Mexican restaurant in New York.” If he thinks Cabrito is a category-killer, it just might be enough to push it over the edge to two stars, provided there aren’t too many duds on the menu.

To be sure, the Eater odds accurately reflect the probabilities, but we think two stars are definitely in play here. This review will almost certainly be an “enthusiastic one” or a “two with caveats.” He has more often done the latter than the former.

The Bet: Our record when we literally “roll the dice” has been mixed, to say the least. Nevertheless, we’ll go out on a limb and predict two stars for Cabrito.