Tomorrow, Frank Bruni, in his eternal quest for pravda, reviews Russian Tea Room. Today, the Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows:
Zero Stars: 8-1There is a tacit understanding that a venue of this pedigree begins with two stars. Whereas, for example, the Cafe Clunys of the world start with one and must earn upwards, RTR's on-arrival score is the deuce (see also: Le Cirque). There are a handful of reasons why the Frank will not be inclined to subtract, the most notable of which is that his predecessor Mr. Grimes three-starred Robbins' Biltmore Room, thus securing Robbins the benefit of the doubt here and for all of time. Bruni has also shown repeatedly that he prefers two stars over one for use in obliterating a haute midtown venue (see esp.: Liebrandt's Gilt, Alto). These factors combined with RTR's history make fewer than two stars an extremely unlikely scenario. On the other hand, this review is early. Surely Robbins has not had the time he'd wished for to get his kitchen firing on all cylinders. There is likely to be much more three-star potential found than three-star execution. All in, Eater is with our oddsmakers this week: two stars for Russian Tea Room.
One Star: 7-1
Two Stars: 2-1
Three Stars: 4-1
Four Stars: 5,000-1
· Russian Tea Room [NYT; after 8:00 PM]