In Bruni’s memoir, an unidentified restaurateur flashes the critic a picture of his kids during dinner and calls them “my four stars.” The scene played out at the Oak Room, a source close to an employee told us a month after Bruni’s one-star review of the “gorgeously restored” space. But when we called the restaurant today for comment, the manager said “Nobody here can confirm that and none of the restaurant's owners have four kids.” Bruni, too, is keeping hush (though we hope to learn more at the Wine & Food Festival). “If I'd wanted to name the restaurant, I would have in the book. I wanted to provide an example of the odd entreaties restaurateurs make, not explicitly ridicule anyone in particular,” he e-mailed after our inquiry. The memoir, however, weaves its own clues.
In the passage, Bruni describes not only the “restoration of the space,” but also how the “pork chop hadn't been any juicier than a dog's chew toy.” In his February 4 review of the Oak Room, Bruni laments their “pork chop was seriously overcooked, a tough, juiceless mountain of meat.” Any other blind items from our index sounds familiar? We’d love to know what restaurants swap female waitresses for sexy males. So we can go ourselves, of course.