The Bruni Digest

In which I sit on a dirt mound somewhere in Brooklyn with my ears pricked, waiting for New York Times head restaurant critic Frank Bruni, who I imagine to be a Venetian count in a huge ruffled collar, to dole out stars from the inside breast pocket of his brocaded chamber robe. This blog is predicated on the suggestion that every Wednesday, in the Times Dining Out section, Frank lays a huge faberge egg of hilarity.

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Location: New York, New York, U.S. Outlying Islands

I am fiscally irresponsible, which means I have weak bones and a dorsal fin. And a penchant for dining out, even though I am, in the words of many rich people, a "poor people". I make a different face when speaking each of the foreign languages in which I am shittily proficient.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Eleven Madison: Franklock Holmes is on the Case

There's no crime, there's no Scotland Yard, and there's conspicuously little need for a review; but Frank Bruni has decided to snoop around Eleven Madison with a magnifying glass and his trusty plume.

Eleven Madison is one of the notches in star restaurateur Danny Meyers' belt, a seven-year-old marble notch, whereas everyone in the world is much more interested in the trompe-l'oeil cubist notch painted on his belt, the Modern, which opened recently in the new MoMA. Well, maybe Bruni is siding with those who believe newborn babies shouldn't be slapped around, and is waiting for the Modern to grow up a little. Meanwhile, we visit its older sister Eleven Madison, who basically got safely out of the nest, went to a decent Ivy and married a banker, so it's fair to publish in the Times that she's popular and pretty, but kind of a bore.

For those of you out there that think that food reviewing is all amuse-bouches and croquette parfaits, wake up and smell the gunsmoke. Just as it is Fox 5's duty to park undercover cameras in the shower rooms at Equinox to show that bacteria is indeed growing, so the burdens of service journalism fall upon our hero. The question echoes throughout the shag-carpeted dens of a thousand American homes: "IS THE RECEPTIONIST AT ELEVEN MADISON COURTEOUS???????" With some effort, Frank tucks his ruffled Shakespearean collar under a trench coat and picks up the phone in his apartment: "Always using pseudonyms, I repeatedly called to adjust the size of my group or the time of our arrival." I wonder if he repeatedly called in different accents and vocal registers, as I have been forced to do, by shame, upon calling Crif Dogs too many times in a night. Well, no matter, the gavel has fallen, and it has not hit anyone in the head: "Not once did I encounter the kind of huffiness that restaurants as busy as this one often project."

Well, that rat that you smelled, Frank, was it your burlap hosiery beginning to rot, or have you carefully built up a middling-to-confident veneer of praise only to tear it down upon closer inspection and -- GASP! -- find the food "unremarkable" and "poorly executed"? The latter, mmyof course. "Although the dining room is flooded with those smiling servers, their dance is less a ballet than a military drill, glaringly mechanized. They scoop horseradish creme fraiche onto braised short ribs as if spackling walls."

Which reminds me of the time I DID spackle my walls with horseradish, with the door closed, and went temporarily blind.

Amazingly, "unremarkable," "poorly executed," "tasted like day old pot roast," "dry," and "glaringly mechanized" do not "rise to the level of a complaint." A complaint is when Frank herring-smacks your sister and calls you a fag. This is "more of a rumination": "You can hone fine dining into a science but you may lose out on some of the art."

ART? ART? DID SOMEONE SAY ART? Watch out, Modern, you're growing older every day...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is funny! Frank is our Jiminy Glick. And Jules, how well you've crafted Foie Gras out of Chopped Liver.


7:01 PM, March 09, 2005  

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