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BruniBetting: Kefi

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Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews Kefi, Michael Psilakis and Donatella Arpaia's cheapo UWS hit. Today, the Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows:

Zero Stars: 20-1
One Star: 4-1 √√
Two Stars: 3-1
Three Stars: 55-1
Four Stars: 50,000-1

What we have here is the usual one v. two star debate. The three, and the goose, are out of the question, so let's step lively to the scene of the action, shall we? Why the two's looking good, in alphabetical order:

a) The Brizzuni has a thing for Psilakis. He gave both Mia Dona and Anthos two stars, and he was the one who broke the Kefi news in the first place. b) The Upper West Side handicap. c) They are putting out decent-to-impressive food. d) It's dirt cheap. e) He's already written favorably about it.

But here's the essential problem that may put that deuce out of reach: the place is a factory. It's loud, bright, giant, has a number of bad tables, and churns out an absurd number of people (and an absurd number of dishes) each night. The hostess area is a nightmare. It's not a classic two-star atmosphere... but then neither was Momofuku Ssam, was it?

It comes down to this: does the pricepoint make up for the atmosphere? Given the bruised economy, smart betters might say yes, that Kefi is a classic 2009 deuce. But we don't see it. We're throwing down on a very enthusiastic one star; bettors, to your marks.
· Kefi [NYT; after 8:00 PM]
√√ denotes the Eater bet.


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