Welcome to Sift Happens, the latest in a long line of offerings for Times dining section junkies in which we preview and handicap tomorrow's restaurant review. Before there was Sift Happens there was WellsWagering; and before that there was Ballpark Frank; and before that there was BruniBetting. Now there is this.
Tomorrow, Sam Sifton files his second "Restaurants" review, this one on Marea, Michael White and Chris Cannon's massive (for their investors, at least) seafood gamble on Central Park South.
PLAYBOOK: Green Eggs and Sam's predecessor, Frank Bruni, deferred to Sifton on the matter of Marea, noting that he'd had good meals there but had run out of time to file a review on it. Instead it will serve as a crucial early barometer of how Sammy Stars feels about circa-2009 fine dining. If he remains in step with Bruni, following Sifton's two-starring of DBGB, Marea has to get three stars. On that curve, in fact, Marea could get up to six stars. Even its steep prices don't entirely cancel out Marea's more refined culinary ambitions and achievement as compared to what is happening at DBGB.
SIFT HAPPENS: If it is downtown food that Sifton is aiming to promote at all costs, he will drop a stinking deuce on Marea, scolding it for its prices and overgrown menu (as Adam Platt did).
LINE: Sift Happens: 22-1; Three Stars: EVEN; Four: 20-1. [Marea Reviewed; NYT; after ~8 PM]