Entries in Harry Cipriani (2)


The Payoff: Harry Cipriani

Harry Cipriani sucks. Who knew? Today, Frank Bruni uncorks just the second POOR rating of his tenure:1

Over the years the Cipriani restaurant family and its employees have faced charges of sexual harassment, insurance fraud and tax evasion, the last leading to guilty pleas by two family members in July.

But the crime that comes to mind first when I think of the Ciprianis is highway robbery…


But what I remember most vividly about that particular night is the potatoes. And I hasten to add that I’m taking it on faith that they were potatoes.

That’s what they visually suggested, those desiccated yellow-beige coins that had somehow acquired the texture of Brillo and could almost have been used to scrub whatever pan they had emerged from.

We might well have expected this takedown, if only an online price list had been available. $66.95 for sirloin? $36.95 for lasagna? And what’s with those prices that end in “.95” when dinner costs as much as a car payment? The word that comes to mind is tacky.

Eater and NYJ both thought that Frank Bruni would award one star, and we both lose a dollar.

  Eater   NYJ
Bankroll $59.50   $68.67
Gain/Loss –1.00   –1.00
Total $58.50   $67.67
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 24–8   24–8

1 In the New York Times system, there are three ratings below one star: Satisfactory, Fair, and Poor. Bruni’s other Poor was Ninja, and he has never issued a “Fair” rating. He gives out around a half-dozen satisfactories per year.


Rolling the Dice: Harry Cipriani

Every week, we take our turn with Lady Luck on the BruniBetting odds as posted by Eater. Just for kicks, we track Eater’s bet too, and see who is better at guessing what the unpredictable Bruni will do. We track our sins with an imaginary $1 bet every week.

The Line: Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Harry Cipriani, the home of Italian cuisine for Upper East Side lovelies with trust funds, and also home to the worst restaurant website in the Western World. The Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 4-1
One Star: 2-1
Two Stars: 4-1
Three Stars: 50-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1

The Skinny: It seems the Bruni is running out of new restaurants to look at, as this is his second re-review in three weeks. He thought to himself, “What do my readers want? [Pause for reflection.] Aha! I have it! An Italian restaurant.” So for what feels like the 40th time this year, Bruni is reviewing his favorite cuisine.

The Times last reviewed Harry Cipriani in May 1991, when Bryan Miller awarded two stars. When Bruni re-reviews, there’s usually a rating change. No one has suggested that Harry Cipriani has gotten better in the last sixteen years, and lately its owners have been more worried about a conviction for tax evasion than with running a restaurant.

I can’t find an online menu, but even in 1991 most entrées were priced above $30. At those prices, Bruni demands excellence, and he probably won’t find it here. I agree with Eater that the Four Seasons, which Bruni demoted to two stars, and which is the better restaurant, sets the ceiling that Harry Cipriani cannot pierce. On top of that, Bruni has awarded two stars recently to L’Impero and Insieme, and he won’t rate Harry Cipriani equal to those standouts.

Will it fall all the way to zero? It would be a very real possibility, but for one thing: it’s Italian food, which means Bruni surely will find something to love.

The Bet: We agree with Eater that Frank Bruni will award one star to Harry Cipriani.