Best of Bruni 2005
As the Count's first calendar year as New York Times Restaurant Critic comes to a close, let's look back over our shoulders at the tantalizing trail of panties that has led up to this point: the Best of Bruni 2005.
"But," you protest, "how can you choose? It's like picking among your own children!" Well, I don't have children, but when I do, I'll clearly pick for favorites the prettiest and least gin-damaged ones.
Jules: Well, doc, is it a boy or a girl??
Doctor: I don't know how to say this, but...well...you've birthed several ounces of Juniper berries.
Yumcha: “If you sense in those descriptions a blurring of boundaries - a sort of pan-Asian embrace coupled with a French kiss - you understand Yumcha's wiles. It christens its come-on ‘modern haute Chinese.’” I mean.
Taboon: "The restaurant Taboon was built from the ground up in a peculiar and particular sense. Its back story is a tale of love and parquet." It gets randier from there.
Sushi of Gari: "I am ashamed of my past. Horrified by it, really. I need to glance back only a little more than a decade to catch a glimpse of my wantonness, to see myself treating something precious as if it were just so much flesh. When it came to sushi, I was a cad. I degraded it with excess wasabi paste, and my use of soy sauce was nothing short of promiscuous." That's a winner.
Barbes: "Few carbohydrates could have triumphed so handily over Atkins and South Beach. But pasta thrives, insistent and ineluctable, like Paris Hilton.”
Bistro du Vent: "Mr. Pasternack...has created his own private Idaho, a place where...diners heretofore victorious over starches are bound to meet their Waterloo.”
Frederick's: "To be clear, Frederick's neither composes an interesting enough menu nor performs consistently enough to lure many diners with no other business in the East 60's.” Grrrrrreat.
Bette: OK, sure, a Diner's Journal entry was justified. But 30 days later, Bette round II? "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?” Genius.
Sripraphai: "By the time [my friend] sampled the restaurant's roasted duck salad, its curry rice noodles and its sautéed 'drunken' noodles, I had traveled in his estimation from cretin to genius, villain to hero, a culinary Columbus who had discovered an untrammeled new world." This one was November 2004, techincally outside of the calendar year. But it marks, according to many, the most scandalous thing in Frank's record to date: 2 stars for a dumpy takeout place in Queens.
Bistro du Vent: Two Stars? Just for Serving Potatoes?
Alain Ducasse at Essex House: Frank brought the restaurant down to 3 stars from 4; this was just pre-Digest, although a few months later I did have a comment on the resulting curb-kickage of Exec. Chef Christian Delouvrier.
Ninja: This was more like a huge-handed birthday clown spinning around open-palmed in a tight circle of children: non-stop hilarious smackdowns of poor assholes that didn’t see it coming.
Koi: “Like an aged pop star on the latest of several proclaimed farewell tours, Koi ultimately relies on pose more than performance.” Just say "Cher," ok? You don't have to protect her, she's made of Teflon.
Keens: A trip to Colonial Restaurantsburg, complete with 200-year history of mutton in America.
Della Rovere: CHOCK FULL of cheezy jokes.
Prem-on Thai: Inexplicably, done entirely in prayer format: “Let us now praise the crispy fish, which has swum and sizzled its way onto the menus of so many Asian restaurants in our fair city, determined to prove that seafood can taste as ecstatically naughty as anything else.” (Tied for Most Pervy)
THE RED CAT. "The Red Cat feels vaguely colonial and tavernlike, except when it feels downtown-gallery cool, and apart from those moments when it feels modestly and eclectically elegant.” Wha??
Periyali: Next on Montel--"Fried rings of calamari...made all those reckless pub versions seem like so many oily bread crumbs with specious claims to maritime paternity.”
La Esquina: 'The harder it is to get in, the more fun it is to be in,' she said, articulating a maxim of Manhattan night life and a guiding principle of La Esquina, which is sort of like Studio 54 with chipotle instead of cocaine."
Aburiya Kinnosuke: “You definitely won't find elaborately constructed, kaleidoscopic sushi rolls, the kind that look more like kites than supper, or whimsically shaped stemware filled with neon-colored potions, the kind that look more like chemistry experiments than drinks.” Well, I usually don't dine at Willy Wonka's Shagadelic Thrift Store From Hell, anyway.
There are amazing, pants-shattering Brunisms I'm forgetting; so please feel free to comment or email me and I'll add 'em to the list.
OH GOD! I almost forgot: The Shitsposee-- Frank's toilet review, although really more of a revue.