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, August 17, 2005

Bette (Part II): Still Irrelevant After All These Weeks

Remember when Frank went to Bette, where he hunched in the corner like a little Hedda Hopper with his gossip journal and giddily espied Robert Downey fils, a bar full of ‘rexies, and lots of plastic surgery before casually noting that there was some food on his plate? Yeah, me too… Remember when I made fun of it? Yeah, me too. Probably because it was July 15, a scant month ago (and I’m not that brain damaged). But back in July, whilst scribbling into his trusty, probably girly Diner's journal,

he must have been rubbing his palms together and whispering to himself the immortal words of Al Pacino: “I’m crazy and I’ve aged like meat in the hot sun.” Or no, I mean, “HOO-HA! I’m just getting warmed up.” Because he's back for more.

But not much more. Frank’s one-star review today is to his prior write-up what Star Jones is to Miss Piggy: just a fleshed out version of the exact same concept.

Frank reconfirms that Bette is a vanity trough with a nice interior, great fries and oddly heavy fare. But let’s see if Franka Claus left any fun presents under the reconfirmation tree, huh?

As Frank was eagerly snooping around for celebs, “the people at those other tables were, in turn, doing their own wishful reconnaissance. In this daisy chain of dauntless gawking, necks craned violently and heads swiveled abruptly. Was Bette a restaurant, or a cunning plot by business-hungry chiropractors?”

Simpleton chiropractor that lost her own office?... Or the next SAM WALTON? You be the judge.

Bette is “an exercise in mass vanity and mutually assured voyeurism: that is, a beloved Manhattan ritual and a guaranteed good time.”

Innnteresting…What guarantees that it’s a good time, Frank??

Frank: Go to Bette! It’s a guaranteed good time!
Me: But… I’m not really one for hip places.
Frank: But it’s such a good time! It’s full of weirdly skinny modely types wearing expensive satiny things! What could be more fun?
Me: But I’m kind of dikey, and my clothes are all made of cotton and most are shaped like a T. Sounds intimidating!
Frank: Are you kidding? You’ll pay $28 for a mediocre entrée it’s guaranteed HILARIOUS!
Me: Frank, my hair is for sale on Ebay and I just closed a deal on my uterus.
Frank: But you could see a celebrity!!!
Me: But I don’t care about celebrity sightings—OK, fine. I care. I care deeply. Where is it again?

Good enough sighting for me! I’ll take it, and I’ll find it quasi-spiritual!

Speaking of dialogue, Frank reproduced an entire encounter with the reservationist, so impressed was he that when you call, you “encounter something other than unadulterated attitude. Like humor.”

“‘You have to bear with me,’ said a man who answered one day. ‘One reservationist is home sick. The other reservationist is home sick. The other reservationist is home sick. And the other reservationist had to stay home to make a dress.’
‘A girl's got to sew,’ I said.
‘It's the best of the four excuses,’ he agreed.”

Hilarious... You can catch the Count and the Reservationist doing birthday parties on weekends.

P.S...."A girl's got to sew?" I mean, I appreciate the journalistic integrity but couldn't we have punched it up a bit? "WHEN SHE GETS IN, TAILOR I SAID HELLO!" or "WELL, LAST TIME I WAS THERE, SHE DID SEAMSTRESSED!!!!" Can I join the act, Frank?

Well listen, since Frank didn't really comment on the food (after all, "depending on your mood or perspective, the cooking at Bette is either refreshingly straightforward or stunningly unimaginative"), I won't either.

See you around... TRISHELLE

(my fingers are crossed BIG TIME!)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've probably alredy seen this but

8:13 AM, August 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know how to spel 'already' but messed up in my haste to send you a link to the gawker article.

8:15 AM, August 18, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

Actually, the Times regularly mislists or doesn't list stars early in the morning online. The thing is, when it looks like Prune or BLTFish has no stars, you know it's a computer error. With Bette, starlessness actually seemed plausible, hence possibly corrected or changed later.

Thanks for the heads up. And I apreciate your spellers' pride.

10:44 AM, August 18, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wanted to express my delight at the mere existence of your blog. When I saw that Bruni had reviewed Bette AGAIN, my first thought was "wtf is going on? he is such a whore!" and my second was "ooh, gotta check out the Bruni Digest. I'm sure there's something witty that will amuse me." As if your mockery of the first Bette review (which I can't find anymore on - like they don't want to own up to having reviewed it twice in one month) wasn't funny enough. Kudos.

11:40 PM, August 18, 2005  
Anonymous other said...

I'm too poor to dine in pretty much any NY restaurant, not to mention I don't live there, and yet I return to your blog week after week. You've captured my heart and/or funny bone. Thank you!

2:01 PM, August 19, 2005  
Blogger Jules said...

anon'y #3-- I just checked, and the Bette review from Diners Journal in July is still accessible via the link in the first paragraph of this post. And girl (boy?), like a doggy bag that you had the momentary snobbery to throw away the night before, it is TWICE as delicious taken from the trash weeks later!

3:52 PM, August 21, 2005  

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