Entries in Provence (2)


The Non-Payoff: Provence

Yesterday, Frank Bruni awarded one star to Provence.

For the second week in a row, we had a review that could have gone either way. And for the second week in a row—and indeed, this is becoming a depressing regularity, NYJ was on the wrong side of the bet. But for the first time in eighteen weeks, Eater was also on the wrong side, making this the first time in 18 weeks that both of us are losers.

Both Eater and NYJ lose $1 on our hypothetical wagers.

          Eater        NYJ
Bankroll $37.50   $34.67
Gain/Loss –1.00   –1.00
Total $36.50   $33.67
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Won–Lost 14–4   12–6

Rolling the Dice: Provence

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, Francophobe Frank reviews the newly re-imagined SoHo bistro, Provence. Eater’s official odds are as follows (√√ denotes the Eater bet):

Zero Stars: 6-1
One Star: 3-1
Two Stars: 7-2 √√
Three Stars:
Four Stars: 25,000-1

The Skinny: For the second week in a row, Eater is practically on the fence, with only a smidgen separating the favorite (two stars) from the runner-up. Once again, there’s a reasonably good case for either outcome.

The case for two stars? As Eater notes, Marc Meyer and Vicki Freeman have already cracked the two-star code at Cookshop. And Bruni seems to have a soft-spot for husband–wife teams. Something about a small, family-run business appeals to him. A number of quaint restaurants run by married couples—usually Italian—have received two stars from him.

Eater also notes that this is technically a re-review—the restaurant received one star from Ruth Reichl, which Eric Asimov re-affirmed—and re-reviews usually come with a change-of-rating. That factor is probably less important here, as any Meyer/Freeman restaurant would pretty much demand a review. And when the review is driven by market events, Bruni doesn’t necessarily feel compelled to justify the effort with an upgrade or downgrade.

The case for one star? Well, the reviews of Provence have been decidedly mixed, and Bruni has never had much of a liking for French food.

The Bet: We’re two games behind in the pennant race, and we’ll never catch up without taking some risks. But we just don’t have a strong enough feeling about this one to bet against the odds. Two stars it is.