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Brunibetting: L'Artusi

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Tomorrow, Frank Bruni reviews L'Artusi, the West 10th Street bi-level Italian sequel to Dell'Anima. Today, the Eater oddsmakers have set the action as follows:

Zero Stars: 8-1
One Star: 3-1 √√
Two Stars: 5-1
Three Stars: 75-1
Four Stars: 20,000-1
This is restaurateurs Joe Campanale and Gabe Thompson's first mainstage review, their first restaurant, Dell'Anima, having been passed over by The Curious Case of Benjamin Bruni when it opened in late 2007. Point being, re the Campanale-Thompson brand, to date Bruni doesn't see eye-to-eye with the huge masses of people that crowd the restaurants nightly. That he's reviewing this time around means he's ready to issue a verdict on the burgeoning empire, and will note his non-love of Dell'Anima in the process. As for the existing data points on L'Artusi, the critics who have filed have noted solid food and have not taken issue with price, which keeps the venue out of the zero star strike zone. Food like this—smart, ranging from just-good to excellent—in simple digs is the stuff of one star, if Bruni's track record is a clue this week. But. But, friends. If the boys nailed every dish, every time he came in, two is in play. If Baltz Co., the restaurant's PR firm did what they do—they will boast if provoked, "No one coaches two stars like Baltz Co.!"—then there's a feel-good deuce train coming at us. And, if Bruni had Chef Thompson's undivided attention on 9 out of 10 dishes delivered to his table, again, we're in the two star ballpark. So, here comes the summation, statistically, one star is the most realistic case this week; if you're looking for a reason it's two, refer to the x-factors. We say one star—an encouraging, nurturing one star, noting recession-appropriate food and future potential. Bet as you wish.
· L'Artusi [NYT; after 8:00 PM]
√√ denotes the Eater bet.

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