Entries in Max Brenner (2)


The Payoff: Max Brenner

Today, Frank Bruni learns that he can take his niece and nephew out for dessert, and the New York Times will pay for it. At Max Brenner, critic-to-be Gavin, 6, pronounced “Not everything should be made into dessert.” No doubt Gavin will be on the Times payroll soon, as he seems to have the same discerning palate as his uncle.

I hadn’t thought that Bruni would pick out such an utterly irrelevant “restaurant,” only to give it zero stars. To be sure, it’s overrun with tourists, suggesting that perhaps there’s a large audience that needs Frank’s advice about the place. But Little Italy and the Theater District are overrun with tourists too. Will Ferrara be next week’s review?

But zero stars it is. We took the one-star action, and lose $1, for our first two-week losing streak. Luckily for us, the odds on zero stars were only even money, so Eater wins just $1.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $22.00   $26.67
Gain/Loss +$1.00   –$1.00
Total $23.00   $25.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 9–2   8–3

Rolling the Dice: Max Brenner

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 chocolatier Max Brenner. Eater’s official odds are as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: EVEN √√
One Star: 3-1
Two Stars: 10-1
Three Stars: 90-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1

The Skinny: After his Morandi review last week, poor Frank must be either bored or exhausted. There’s no other way to explain tomorrow’s utterly bizarre choice: a breakfast/sandwich/dessert place so insignificant that it doesn’t seem to have attracted a single review—anywhere—though it has been open since July of last year. It’s not even clear which Max Brenner Frank is reviewing: a second outpost opened last November.

Such places, if the Times reviewed them at all, would normally be covered in the paper’s $25 and Under column. Tomorrow’s review creates the topsy-turvy paradox that the city’s best dessert restaurant, Room 4 Dessert, has only a $25&U mention to its credit, while Max Brenner gets a full rated review.

Bruni doesn’t normally pick a restaurant out of nowhere, only to trash it. Given last week’s depressing review, he probably wanted some fun (or a week off). Morandi, which Frank pretty much had to review, showed us how bad a restaurant can be, and still earn a star. If he’s wasting his time on Max Brenner—a restaurant no one expected him to review—I have to assume he found something nice to say.

The Bet: We are crossing our fingers, and betting that Frank Bruni will award one star to Max Brenner.