Sam Sifton must've known he was going to spark some reactions when he put Del Posto into the group of seven restaurants boasting four New York Times stars. First and foremost, from Mario himself: “Holy shitaly!!!” he tweeted. “We just got 4 stars from the NY TIMES for del Posto!! First Italian restaurant in 36 yrs to get 4 !!” And later: “4 star Celebration day with champagne and oysters with susi [sic] and the bourdains at Balthazar !!! I heart new York !!!” Meanwhile, Joe Bastianich (just profiled in the Times Magazine) tweeted: “Wow holy shit. A lifetime of work acknowledeged!!!” But while chefs like Scott Conant, Tom Colicchio, Joe Campanale, and Eric Ripert offer up their congrats, and Times commenters do the same (excepting the one who questioned Sifton’s journalistic integrity in posting, along with his link to the review, videos that Del Posto had produced), others aren’t reveling in this quite as much.
Grub Street commenters were somewhat negative: “Interesting how a few weeks after the launch of Eataly,” wrote Cheer21962, “Del Posto gets ‘four’ stars ... guess Joe and Lidia and Mario need the traffic at the restaurant to help pay the rent at Eataly.” RWordplay wrote: “What exactly is the Italian spirit? ‘La Dolce Vita’ or ‘Gomorra?’” And Eater has rounded up the most incredulous reactions of its commenters: “Well since sifton inflated all of the reviews by 1 star, this is still a 3 star restaurant on bruni's count,” writes one. “Sifton needs to be stopped. im serious." Meanwhile, curmudgeonly food writer Regina Schrambling agrees with NJ Journal’s take:
To the best of my recollection, each of the last three restaurants to receive four stars—Per Se, Masa, and Eleven Madison Park—had received a considerable amount of critical acclaim, blogger and food-board love, before Frank Bruni confirmed what all of us, basically, already knew. This review comes out of nowhere.”
So, the question remains, what does Bruni think of all this. Well, this tweet doesn't show much outrage: “Big, big day in NY resto world, w/@samsifton anointing a four-star Italian resto. Read all about it: http://tinyurl.com/2ug5yoj.”
Oh, and you know who called this back in December? Ed Levine, that’s who.