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Vital Questions: Will Bruni Crown One More Four-Star?

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The Frank Bruni era predates Eater by almost exactly a year, but I think the history books will regard Frankie Boom Boom as the first restaurant critic who grew up on the blogs. With a hat tip to Michael Bauer, too, Bruni was one of the early big dog critics to blog himself; and fodder about the man is the stuff of Eater and general web legend, double-obvi. Retrospective-crazy the web shall be.
In the meantime, dude's going to be filing reviews for another four months—N.B.: his last review is currently slated for 8/19/09—and has several critical decisions still in him. Let's keep our eyes on the prize, shall we, people?

The biggest question is, Will The Brunisimo inaugurate one more restaurant into the four star club before he leaves? He confirmed Daniel's four stars in January, but hasn't put a new restaurant into the club since Masa in late 2004. Frequent dining companions of his whisper about the man's quiet interest in finding one more perfect restaurant before he departs. And these critics, they like to leave a mark, which to me means we've got one more four star review coming if any restaurant even comes close to getting it done. So, here's the line on the four-star front runners:

Marea: 3-1
Aureole: 10-1
Del Posto: 18-1
Blue Hill, Stone Barns: 19-1
Babbo (Bruni's first review): 75-1
Momofuku Ko: 298-1
Le Cirque: 500-1
Locanda Verde: 5,000-1
Per Se and Masa may also merit action. If Thomas Keller can convince Chef Benno to stay at the helm through August, Per Se will exit the BruniEra unscathed. If not, things get dicey over there quick, friends. As for Masa, the ghost town factor may play should Frankypanky get bored.

When it comes to the tumultuous middle of the pack—the two and three star land of wildcards like Gilt and Momofuku Ssam Bar—I predict Bruni will put on his best performance yet. Plus, Monkey Bar will have its day soon, no doubt, along with many glorious shitshows whose names we don't yet know. (Sidebar to El Chod: Don't be a hero. It's all about September, guy.) Indeed, the next four months promise to be epic—unless Frankie Deuce wants to take a house in Montauk and phone the summer in, which I wouldn't fault him for. As always, the betting windows are open and the best seats are the ones with cushions and teak armrests up towards the front.
— Ben Leventhal
· All Bruniocalypse Coverage [~E~]

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