The Gobbler Responds to Mr. Chodorow’s Broadside

The Gobbler’s first reaction upon opening today’s dining section of the Times (after wiping his bleary eyes and buttering his morning English muffin) was a mild though not unpleasant twinge of envy. There, in a huge full-page ad, was Jeffrey Chodorow’s measured, slightly apoplectic broadside against the Gobbler’s esteemed colleague Frank Bruni. (Here’s the PDF.)

Never mind how much this giant exercise in venting must have cost Mr. Chodorow (about $30,000, or so others have reported), or that his penned signature is even more illegible (if that’s possible) than Henry Kissinger’s, or that he has chosen as his megalomaniacal corporate logo the image of a chopstick devouring the entire world. More to the point, where was the Gobbler in this grand screed? Hadn’t he penned — okay, pecked — his own properly acerbic attack on Mr. Chodorow’s weirdly conceived, abusively overpriced, and still, for some ungodly reason, very popular new restaurant Kobe Club? Yes, he had! And hadn’t this review appeared the very week (two days sooner, in fact) than Mr. Bruni’s review did? Yes, it did!

Then, as the Gobbler read on to the bitter end (and finished his English muffin), he found a tiny kernel of solace. In his new blog, Mr. Chodorow promises a section called “Following Frank and After Adam” in which he (or maybe his underlings) plan to critique Bruni and the Gobbler’s critiques. The Gobbler can’t speak for Mr. Bruni, but he welcomes this development. He doesn’t blame Mr. Chodorow for going a little nuts. Running restaurants is his business, and what does any critic know about that? But knowledgeable restaurant critics don’t have to be former cooks any more than good movie critics have to be former actors. They write from the perspective of the paying customer, and like Mr. Bruni, the Gobbler has eaten more meals in the last few years than Mr. Chodorow would probably care to contemplate. It was the Gobbler’s measured opinion (and Bruni’s) that if you want a good steak, you might want to spend your money somewhere other than Kobe Club. If Mr. Chodorow really wants to dispute this view in an informed way, then he should do exactly what he threatens to do. He should strap on the old feed bag and start pigging out. — Adam Platt