Bruni Gets Up Close and Personal With Chefs

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Today in "Critic’s Notebook," Frank Bruni breaks the fourth wall, in a way, and visits a trio of restaurants where he’s eye-to-eye with the chefs: Tom: Tuesday Dinner, the counter at the Beacon, and the chef’s table at Bloomingdale Road. At the latter, Ed Witt, “the most lavishly tattooed chef in New York,” tells him to suck the brains of a roasted squab, but it seems Bruni would’ve been more content with the house sliders: “Mr. Witt is throwing off the shackles of conformity at this chef’s table, but freedom may not be the thing for him.” At Beacon, he finds that the promised “evening of experimentation” wasn’t exactly that, but at $109 for twelve enjoyable courses (including booze) it was “definitely a deal,” though Bruni seems a little irked that, halfway through his performance, Waldy Malouf turned the cooking over to his second-in-command without saying good-bye. (We can only guess he left to attend to Adam Platt in the dining room.) The Brunz was also amused to see Tom Colicchio playing with his BlackBerry amid cooking at his eponymous project, but Tom: Tuesday is clearly the winner here: “The service is coddling, the pacing smooth, the wine pairings spot-on, the delicacies abundant and the pleasures intense.”

A Celebrity and His Skillet: Dinner at the Chef’s Table [NYT]