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BruniBetting: Barbuto

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Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Barbuto, Jonathan Waxman's Washington Street Italian restaurant that is still surprisingly hard to book. Today, the Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows:

Zero Stars: 4-1
One Star: 2-1 ??
Two Stars: 4-1
Three Stars: 50-1
Four Stars: 25,000-1
Barbuto is currently a member of the $25 and Under club, inducted by Eric Asimov in April 2004, just after the restaurant opened. So, this review will be a call up to the major leagues for Barbuto. More history, for the buffs: the last time Barbuto owner/sometimes chef Jonathan Waxman met with the Times star system, he got a Bill Grimes deuce for Washington Park. But the biggest wild card at Barbuto is not, as it turns out, the Bruni. It is the restaurant itself. It is notoriously polarizing—fans are enthusiastic regulars and detractors can't get far enough away—because it is an incredibly hit-or-miss place. At the chef's table the restaurant is at times three-star-good, but elsewhere is often no better than above average. In this context, on the deuce or goose scale, Barbuto gets a deuce, but we do live in a world that includes one star reviews. If the restaurant aimed higher, was more consistent, and had a longer menu, we might be looking at something serious here. But Eater is taking the action on a very enthusiastic one star review.
· Barbuto [NYT; after 8:00 PM]

?? denotes the Eater bet.

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