Entries in Morandi (2)


The Payoff: Morandi

In today’s Brunology lesson, Professor Frank hands out what must be the weakest one-star review in New York Times history. To be sure, we expected no better than a weak star for Morandi, but we never imagined that Keith McNally could be trashed this badly, and still escape with his manhood intact:

Morandi’s overworked Chianti bottles and its canopy of brick arches — no matter how old the brick — aren’t whimsical; they’re just clichéd. Unlike Balthazar and Pastis, which Mr. McNally cunningly sculptured to look old before their time, Morandi can simply feel tired before its time, and not quite worth the struggle to get in and stay upright in the scrum.

Frank did find a number of dishes he liked (which saved it from the goose-egg), but we don’t recall a one-star review as harsh as this one. But then, Frank has never goose-egged an Italian restaurant, has he?

We were prepared to take the long odds that Morandi would indeed get zilch, so we lose $1 on our hypothetical bet. Eater took the one-star wager, and wins $2.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $20.00   $27.67
Gain/Loss +$2.00   –$1.00
Total $22.00   $26.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 8–2   8–2

Rolling the Dice: Morandi

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 Morandi, Keith McNally’s foray into Italian cuisine. Eater’s official odds are as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 5-1
One Star: 2-1 √√
Two Stars:
Three Stars: 90-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1

The Skinny: Morandi had a shaky start, with many critics finding the food uneven, the service scattered, the crowds unbearable, the décor inauthentic and claustrophobic. I can only take Eater’s word for it that things are getting steadily better at Morandi, because frankly, nothing I’ve read has made me eager to go there.

The Brunologist loves Italian food, and some of his most generous ratings have gone to Italian restaurants. But it’s the one genre in which Bruni can’t be fooled. I have to think that when he wrote his love letter to Esca last week, it was with the certain knowledge that the Morandi review was up next. I therefore expect to find a noticeable contrast between the two, with Morandi earning a weak one star, at best.

The Bet: We are inclined to agree with Eater that one star is the most likely outcome, and that is normally how we would bet. But with the oddsmakers offering only 2–1 odds for that choice, we are going to roll the dice on zero stars, which at 5–1 odds is the more attractive wager.