Yesterday, Frank Bruni caught some flack from his normally adoring commenters for bemoaning the Obamas’ date choice as “a little too pat and controlled.” Typical response: “With all respect, this note is frivolous and silly. With the exception of Babbo, none of the restaurants you mention are on the ‘If you had one night in NYC, where would you eat?’ list.” Of course, the Obamas must’ve weighed their decision carefully — here’s what some other possibilities might’ve been, and the reasons they didn’t hack it.
Pro: Keith McNally is an Obama contributor.
Con: Private VIP number smacks of elitism; $27 burger is like John Edwards’s $400 haircut.
Security Concern: An Off the Wagon patron might hurl all over Michelle’s nice dress.
Pro: Would economically stimulate a bankrupt business.
Con: Someone might photograph Obama eyeing the waitress uniforms, à la McCain checking out Palin.
Security Concern: A shaker flying out of a nervous bartender’s hands while he’s showing off his “hard shake.”
Pro: Much-buzzed-about restaurant that would show off the Obamas’ impeccable taste.
Con: Dishes with foam might be ridiculed the same way Spam sushi was.
Security Concern: Drew “Heavy D” Nieporent giving Barack a rib-crushing bear hug upon entry.
Pro: It’s in keeping with Obama’s youthful, grass-roots sensibility, and (thanks to the reservation system) his Internet savvy.
Con: If Chang’s parents couldn’t score a VIP resy, Obama is screwed, too.
Security Concern: If the president has to cancel owing to a national emergency, he’ll be socked with a $150 charge.
Pro: Hot dogs, ice cream, and John Mellencamp!
Con: What if Obama can’t resist the “Frenchie” burger?
Security Concern: Heartburn.