We cleared our internet cache this morning for various inscrutable reasons, so when it came time to see what the ol’ Sun-Times is up to today we actually had to go to their home page and do a search for “Pat Bruno” (since, ahem, the reviews are not easy to get to from the main page, SUN-TIMES WEB DESIGNERS ARE YOU LISTENING?). Here is the first thing that comes up when you search for Pat Bruno:
Pat Bruno has been the restaurant critic for the Sun-Times for 22 years. His column appears every Friday in the Weekend section of the paper. Pat has written five cookbooks (under his given name, Pasquale Bruno), and during his college years worked as a waiter and a line cook.
In addition to being into dining up to his ears, Pat designs housewares products. In 1973 Pat invented and brought to market the first baking stone. Other housewares designs of Pat’s include a pocket wine computer, garlic press, pasta fork, olive oil decanter and chopping boards.
Ladies and gentlemen, Pat Bruno invented the baking stone. Holy mother of god, y’all. Also his real name is Pasquale! If you want to buy some of his books, they are available on Amazon for as little as one cent.
• Now that we know that Pasquale Bruno has written a number of cookbooks about Italian food, we understand (if not forgive) the preponderance of Italian restaurants he visits in the course of his reviewing career. This week, he’s at Osteria Via Stato, which he visited a few years ago and hated (Pasquale does not like communal dining). Now that Osteria has relaxed their seating policy and he doesn’t have to share a table with unknown persons, however, he’s ready to love them. Interestingly, while he notes that diners are no longer required to order the prix-fixe “Italian DInner Party” in the main dining room as a “significant change” since his last visit, he goes ahead and orders it anyway. Way to shake things up, Pasquale! He has a feast of five antipasti, two pastas, two entrees, and pays a little extra for dessert. It is extremely evident throughout this entire review that he visited on one evening, with one companion. Grr.
• Phrases from Bruno’s review of John’s Place that make us scrunch up our nose a little: “the chicken rides on a bed of spaghetti,” “I set the bar pretty high for a fish taco.” For the record, the chicken in the chopped salad is also riding on a bed of something, and the phrasing still makes us uncomfortable the second time around. Bruno sneers a little bit at the mom-and-stroller crowd that populates John’s Place, and goes looking for meat on a salad-heavy menu. Maybe this just isn’t his scene, hm? The man sets the bar high for a fish taco, after all.