New York Times food review guru Frank Bruni has had more than his fair share of controversy since assuming his position in 2004. In February, noted New York restaurateur (who we are not going to say anything mean about because he truly frightens us) Jeffrey Chodorow (backer of Todd English’s spectacular failure, English Is Italian) responded to a devastating review by Bruni of his latest venture Kobe Club by taking out a full-page ad in the Times that, essentially, called Bruni a fake critic. Now, two weeks after Bruni gave restaurant whiz Keith McNally’s new spot Morandi a less-than-stellar one-star review, McNally has gone on the offensive. Earlier today, he sent New York food blog par excellence Eater an open letter in which he accused Bruni of low-balling Morandi solely because the restaurant’s chef is female. McNally alleges that Bruni has never given a restaurant with a female chef more than two stars and is “unremittingly sexist”.
The fallout on all this is pretty fascinating, especially if you follow the goings on of the insanely clubby New York food world. We were left wondering, however, why this sort of thing never happens in Boston. Is it because there’s no one Hub food reviewer who holds an overwhelming balance of power? Perhaps. Balance seems to be fairly well split between the three big papers. Is it because Boston reviewers tend not to go out seeking blood and thus, reviews are just nicer? Maybe. Sasha Pfeiffer’s swift takedown of Apocrypha in last week’s Globe was the harshest (and best) review we’ve seen in a long time. Whatever it is, we’re fairly grateful that our chefs seem to be less contentious…although it would certainly give us a lot more to write about if they weren’t.
Keith McNally: Bruni has “unremittingly sexist slant” [Eater]
McNally Takes A Cheap Shot At Bruni [Grub Street]
Keith McNally Takes A Groundless Swipe At Bruni [Serious Eats]
Sour Grapes and Convenient Feminiladyism: Frank Bruni Hates Ladies, Claims Crazy McNally [Gawker]
Upscale Gone Overboard [Boston.com]
[Photo: United States Postal Service]