On the heels of yesterday’s zero-star demolition of Ago, BlackBook has brought a couple of Frank Bruni’s other recent classics out of mothballs. Their choices, though, Ninja and Robert’s Steakhouse, just aren’t in the same league as recreational reading, if only because Ninja never had a chance and Bruni actually liked Robert’s. We would add his review of Kobe Club (“If Akira Kurosawa hired the Marquis de Sade as an interior decorator, he might end up with a gloomy rec room like this”), Wakiya (“You tunnel with your chopsticks to the buried chunks of battered, wok-fried meat, and what’s your reward? Nuggets no more tender than those you retrieve from many a drive-through window”), and Freemans (“The people jamming the entrance, eager to see what the fuss is about, need to know that what awaits them isn’t a memorable feast. It’s iceberg with ranch dressing under a stuffed boar’s head”). Bruni is just about the only critic working in a major paper whose positive reviews are as lively as his negative ones, but we still find ourselves hoping he goes somewhere awful again. Watching justice served at his hands always gives us a sadistic thrill.
Frank Bruni vs. Frank Bruni vs. Frank Bruni [BlackBook]