On this Monday, six-days-later edition of Jeffrey Chodorow Versus Anyone Who Doesn't Like His New Clothes, we'll take a look at what's been said in the last 72 hours by the food writers and Eaters among us. From Mimi Sheraton to Regina Scrambling to an Eater reader, the gallery is abuzz with ChodoblogGate.
1) Mimi Sheraton: Sheraton, not surprisingly, sides with the Bruni and the Wells, as she herself was the Times chief Restaurants critic from 1976-1984. "Objecting to Frank Bruni's no-star review of his new restaurant Kobe Club that ran in the previous week's paper, Chodorow yelped like a stuck pig, questioning Bruni's credentials as a food critic (something he never would have done had the review been favorable), and even his integrity by claiming the review was "a personal attack."...
Chodorow, of course, was an idiot to have run such an ad. For one thing, it does worlds of good for the critic, indicating he or she has a strong following, and that his or her words can make or break a dining place—in itself a measure of proven dependability.
2) Regina Schrambling: Sunshine personified, Regina Schrambling doesn't take a side so much, though per one of Gastropoda's recurring story lines, has nothing good to say about Bruni. "It says everything that an ad has generated more buzz than anything Dining has printed in years. But if the world’s most unlikely David had to take on the gray Goliath, he should have ripped a page out of the MoveOn playbook. I’ll bet thousands of readers would have kicked in on an ad for critic impeachment. [Schrambling]
3) Andrea Strong: Strong, too, takes the opportunity to call for Bruni's ouster: "I enjoy Bruni’s reviews and think he is hilarious and an incredibly talented writer, but what qualifies him to be a critic? Indeed, should there be a certain level of education and experience in the culinary world before you are hired by the paper of record where you will hold the future of every New York restaurant in your hands? I think so. Give Bill Buford or Michael Ruhlman the job next. [Strong Buzz]
4) Eater Inbox: Finally, regarding the question of whether Bruni had an axe to grind, as evidenced by the fact that he was spotted and got the best food in the house. Basically, no. The claims: "This [preparing two meals, one for the critic, one for the chef] so common in the NYC “soon to be reviewed” restaurant world. Most of the larger groups know what Bruni looks like. Early copies of his book have his picture on the back cover. Smart restaurateurs photocopy this picture (and all the top NYC reviewers) and paste it all over the restaurant. Then when the reviewer is spotted, 2 dishes are prepared. After, the dish that the reviewer eats goes straight back to the kitchen to judge how the reviewer is perceiving the dishes. Smart operations also have a top server/busser team ready to step in, as well as specially prepared boxes that have polished silverware, plates - all the essential items perfectly clean and ready for said reviewer. The smartest groups then orchestrate” the entire environment for the rest of the time the reviewer is there – who sits near or not, shills, who approaches the table, etc. And the entire thing can be watched on camera in many restaurants. [Eater Inbox]
· Chodoblog Upgraded to KobeGate: Did Bruni Have Axe to Grind? [~E~]
· Chodoblog Hangover: Bruni Kills with Kindness [~E~]
· Chodorow Declares War on Wells, Debuts Blog in Full Page Times Ad [~E~]