The moment of truth for Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianach is less than 7 hours away. Tomorrow, midnightish online, Bruni's highly anticipated review of Del Posto comes out. Anything short of four stars will be a major disapointment for Molto Mario and Co., who from the very start have been clear about this being their attempt at creating the first-ever Italian restaurant to be four-starred by the Times.
How will the former Rome bureau chief rule? On the one hand, if Del Posto is as authentic and elegant and Italian as Batali had envisioned, Bruni will be quick to the four star trigger. Bruni's got the Italian cred, after all, and may be eager to be Batali's savior. On the other hand, the early word has not been good, with both Platt and Cuozzo totally unimpressed all around. If Bruni's experiences have been anything like those of his colleagues, he'll write two star caliber copy, then waver until deadline between two and three, tempted but ultimatley unable to wrist slap Mario's $10 million palace with the same number of stars he gave to The Orchard last week.
Bottom line is that the safe money is on three stars. The betting man takes 50-1 odds on two stars and 100-1 on four.
As is the case around Eater from time to time, it is so totally ON.
UPDATE: Bruni just minutes ago posted this item to the Bruniblog, concerning exactly how understanding he should be of restaurants just after they've opened. Curious.
UPDATE: The safe money takes it: THREE STARS.