The latest review by Pete Wells is largely about how the restaurant critique sausage is made.
Taking in the brand new East Village pizzeria Bruno, Wells cites an enthusiastic write-up last month in New York magazine. The focus of that Grub Street piece was an $18 dollar plate of bread and fermented mozzarella, scheduled to be added to the menu Oct. 1 but still, says Wells, only available intermittently:
Rave reviews of items that have yet to be sold to a paying customer are less rare than you may think. A restaurant that hopes to get a respectable PR push out of the gate will often make a few of its more striking dishes available for advance photographs and tastings. As soon as the doors open, waves of impressions from bloggers, Yelpers, Instagrammers and others begin to pound the shoreline. Two critics from Eater were among the earliest customers of David Chang’s Fuku, and their “first reactions” were posted about three hours after the first chicken sandwich was sold.
The trigger for all this is that Wells has concluded, at this very early stage, that Bruno is not living up to the advance hype. He also lets readers in on the catch-22 of reviews that lavish praise on tasting menus, a springboard from which the Bruno owners benefited.
Somehow though, Wells resisted the temptation to wrap back around to a reference to O.J. Simpson in his lede. E.g., there is no final sentence in this review along the lines of: ‘If the restaurant love does’t fit, we must admit.’