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.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Le Bernardin: 4 stars etched in bikini wax

"THERE is reason to pity the nearly perfect. They have so many ways to falter. In thrall to their own legend, they might well overreach, trading glory for folly, or they might simply coast, converting acclaim into idle narcissism."

And so begins Oliver Stone’s "Alexander". But wait, that’s not Anthony Hopkins in a toga with an enslaved tranny-boy fanning his chundle, it’s Frank! He’s reclining on an alabaster chaise longue wearing nothing but a strategic piece of poached lobster. For today, Frank takes on a review of an ancient and hallowed culinary institution, Le Bernardin. By my Shrek IV Happy Meal watch, this makes three 4-star Times reviews for Le B over the past 10 years. Damn. So how did a place serving so much of Frank’s pet peeve (raw seafood) manage to worm its way into the travel-size bottle of Courvoisier that beats inside his ribcage? With subtlety: Le Bernardin “eschews high drama,” which is more than I can say for Frank, in T minus ten minutes, when Faye Dunaway shows up at his door with a mallet and a .45:

“Le Bernardin has aged with astonishing grace, more Deneuve than Dunaway,” (JUST WAIT) “doing what it must to remain youthful without ever making an elastic fool of itself.” Has Faye Dunaway joined Gumby and Gromet in the pantheon of beloved elastic fools? Or does "FOOL" refer to her new role as reality-TV judge on "The Starlet," and does "ELASTIC" mean he knows something we don't about her thong? Listen, I'm just doing the math, I don't write the numbers.

Well, Starlet or Gromet, she can do some damage with those steel-toed jester booties either way.

And what about those who are underwhelmed by Le B's subtlety? “Because of the restaurant's legend they expect a riot of flourishes, an explosion of fireworks. Nothing less than being made to levitate above the table will do.” Well, honestly, Frank, last time I went to Per Se, my waiter ate a hot coal, pooped a diamond and was then robbed of it by a band of warlords who stole my clothes and lit my crotch on fire. It was damn sexy.

But Le Bernardin, by contrast, “has all the sex appeal of a first-class airport lounge.” A-ha! So even as he dutifully dabs his pinky into $60 appetizers and seven-course tastings, he retains a hint of his monastic slant, apparent in his praise of Le Bernardin’s “sustained belief in the sacredness of piscine flesh,” which I think is a direct quote from my Confirmation.

My conclusion? “Damn, I’d eat the shit outta that shit,” but then, for special occasions, I usually treat myself to the clean Dojo, so of course I would. Frank’s conclusion? “Le Bernardin amounts to the restaurant equivalent of old money, so secure in its station that it need not strut.” He has a point: I did hear that V Steakhouse has a stucco mansion in Boca with white porcelain Versace cats lining the driveway. And we all know, there’s nothing classier than old money:

But I’m not quite ready to thump my chest, burp, and leave Frank’s panegyric to Le Bernardin alone— with a quizzical cock of my head, and baffled squinting of my eyes, I leave you with this:

“[Chef Eric Ripert] has sidestepped the more flamboyant manifestations of celebrity chefdom…except for occasional appearances on the ‘Late Show With David Letterman’ and his participation six years ago in an advertising campaign that featured chefs in the buff.”

Eric Ripert stole Frank's heart.

And I know where he put it...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You my dear,have solved the De Bruni Code,go forth and be blessed for it has been written that.."blessed are the cheese makers"

4:34 PM, March 16, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


9:03 PM, March 16, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

I would actually like to take this opportunity to tack on a little write-up I sent to all my Friendsters this past Thanksgiving after having been forced to go see "Alexander" with my brother and sister as a little postprandial outing. I came home sputtering in disbelief and sent this out:

Friends, lovers, people I have no idea who you are, please take this little memo to heart: DO NOT GO TO SEE ALEXANDER, the new Oliver "Stoned" biopic. "But I like to see bad movies ironically," you say. Or maybe you'd retort, "yeah but movies are all pretty bland and formulaic these days; I just
want to sit back and see some great special effects."
> You'll regret it after you've gouged your first eye out with a jujubee. I would have left the movie early, but I couldnt because a) I dont drive, and
b) I didnt want to accidentally rustle any of my thick cloud of thanksgiving farts over toward the angry punk teens next to me. Even if you're thinking, "I've heard so much press about how gay Jared Leto gets with Colin Ferrell." Its NOT HOT. trust me. It's like watching two lobotomized female toddlers bang their foreheads together. It makes NO sense. Nothing makes sense. The film was obviously edited by locking the footage in a closet with a blindfolded
lobster. the only indicator of time is Colin Ferrel's mulletometer, which gets longer and more distractingly inapproriate as he ages. He actually looks like Bert from Sesame Street wearing the hair of Amy Ray from the Indigo Girls. Also, you may be tempted to see the movie because of rumors of Rosario Dawson's yams. You do get a lot of mamshot, and also some glimpses of bush, but it's not worth it. a nudie mag is cheaper and doesnt make you sit through 300 word-for-word identical speeches about glory. PLUS you'll be so preoccupied
with how you can sneak into "Spawn of Chuckie" at that point you wont be paying attention to the
jugs (or, for that matter to Collin Ferrell's costar in
the film, a radiant and talented Colin Ferrell's Scrote.) AND, if you really wanna know what happened to Alexander, you can just effing rent the DVD and watch the first and last 5 minutes, where a puppetteer with his arm up a dead Anthony Hopkins' butt makes him narrate
exactly what's going to happen and what did happen, respectively, to a slave-tranny. There are actually so many slave trannies in this movie, sweaty weird adolescent ones in diapers--if I were a kid watching this movie for a history lesson I would be like, "soooo everyone in Greece is Irish, and everyone else in the world is "Asian", a.k.a. barbarian. The entire world used to be "Asian" until 6 gay Ires took them over. Asian populations all have
bands of trannies in diapers and lots of eyeliner who
are brought out to dance with joy whenever their people get conquered." OMG seriously Oliver Stone is dead and some chimp is like, wearing his hat and driving his Lexus and eating
bananas and pooping in his directors chair and
everyones like, "yes, oliver, mm hm, great idea, as you wish." Please spare yourself. that is all. Happy Turkey Day

3:50 PM, April 21, 2005  

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