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Diner's Journal by Frank Bruni


SobaAddict70
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It was only a matter of time until a thread devoted to Frank Bruni's Diner's Journal blog would be started here. Going forward, this thread will be updated as Mr. Bruni adds entries to his blog. --Soba

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Vegetable tempura is served with a molten gorgonzola dip. There’s “yellowtail pastrami,” house-cured slices of fish garnished with candied dehydrated olives. And there’s a dish reminiscent of Korean bibimbop: a hot stone bowl filled with gooey rice, which a soft chicken egg renders even gooier, and with slices of yellowtail that a server cooks at the table by pressing them against the sides of the hot bowl.

Morimoto

Click here for related discussion on Morimoto's in Manhattan.

Click here, here, here and here for discussion regarding Morimoto in Philadelphia.

If your hunger for all things Morimoto hasn't been sated yet, :wink: you can read a thread comparing Morimoto in Philadelphia to Morimoto's in New York here.

Braised short ribs were a perfect example — dry, dull. Meatloaf wasn’t much better. I could see slivers of the advertised lobster in a bisque with “green apple essence,” but I couldn’t taste them.

David Burke's at Bloomingdale's

Click here for commentary regarding David Burke & Donatella.

Click here for a discussion relating to David Burke's at Bloomingdale's.

71 Clinton is reportedly shutting its doors in the middle of next month, a development prompted at least in part by the decision of its current chef, Jason Neroni, to move on. Its physical space — which could well become home to another restaurant — is tiny. But the restaurant’s footprint was large, and so is diners’ debt of gratitude to 71 Clinton.

71 Clinton Fresh Food

Commentary and discussion relating to 71 Clinton Fresh Food can be viewed here.

Click here for a thread on wd-50.

An acquaintance complained to me recently about making a reservation for a large party at the new restaurant Del Posto and being informed that members of the party would not be able to order freely from the full menu and would have to make some decisions about their meal in advance.

Dining In Packs

Click here for discussion relating to Del Posto.

A thread on Blue Hill at Stone Barns can be viewed here.

It’s still jammed beyond belief, and while we showed up for our table on time, we spent a half-hour waiting in a scrum by the bar. No one offered us an apology or asked if we’d like to order a drink....

....Ravioli stuffed with porcini and smothered by a cream sauce further placated us, as did beautiful little clams in spaghetti alle vongole. A slab of swordfish was moist, mammoth yet barely visible under a delectably salty cloak of capers, olives and tomato.....

....The swordfish was $55, as was conventionally lovely, unsurprising and unspectacular Dover sole.

Il Mulino

Several readers said they thought I underrated the restaurant Telepan in a print review last week, and I’m sure there will be ratings in the future that some readers will deem too generous or too stingy....

...For example some restaurants barely cross the barrier between one and two stars, while others fall just slightly short of the barrier between two and three stars. All of these restaurants end up with the same two-star rating, even though my degrees of enthusiasm for them may not be precisely the same.

Questions and Answers

Commentary and related discussion regarding Mr. Bruni's style of reviewing and the New York Times star system can be found here.

Has Aquavit followed the lead of Per Se, which in September of last year started routinely adding a 20 percent service charge to the bill?

A Sure Thing

Click here for a thread on Aquavit.

Click here for a thread on Per Se.

During a recent dinner at Aix, I was unimpressed with the gnocchi themselves, made in a style that is meant to render them lighter. They ended up mushy, but they had flavorful company: peas, Serrano ham and a Parmesan emulsion.

Duck confit turnovers, another addition to the menu, were distinguished by the terrific housemade pastry that encased the meat

Recent Makeovers

Click here for discussion relating to Aix.

Click here for a thread on Telepan.

The restaurant says that it freshly grinds the beef it uses for burgers at least once and often several times a day, and I’m inclined to believe that. The meat had a luscious texture and taste.

The patty was nicely shaped: vaguely spherical and very tall, but not too tall to eat, and not so tall that the area around the center had to be slightly overcooked so that the center itself wasn’t raw. Pretty much through and through, the burger was medium rare, which was just how we’d requested it.

Bruni on Burgers

Click here for discussion relating to Rare Bar & Grill.

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This new thread leaves a bad taste in my mouth (see, a food reference!).

I think it's incredibly generous of Bruni and the New York Times to open up comments at the Diner's Journal. It's strikes me as bad net etiquette to debate his posts on eGullet instead of on the blog.

Now, I haven't tried to comment at Diner's Journal. It may be that it's heavily moderated, but I have seen negatives comments. They claim that anything on topic and not abusive will go up.

The more meta discussion, I will agree, might be better done at eGullet.

Edited by TAPrice (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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I think it's incredibly generous of Bruni and the New York Times to open up comments at the Diner's Journal. It's strikes me as bad net etiquette to debate his posts on eGullet instead of on the blog.

Now, I haven't tried to comment at Diner's Journal. It may be that it's heavily moderated, but I have seen negatives comments. They claim that anything on topic and not abusive will go up.

The more meta discussion, I will agree, might be better done at eGullet.

But it's not bad net etiquette to comment on material such as Eurotrash on Amanda Hesser's Spice Market review or to have an ongoing thread on restaurant critics at the NYTimes? I don't get it.

This thread is primarily for discussion about Mr. Bruni's blog -- which by the way incorporates his regular Friday Diner's Journal column. Anything is fair game as long as respondents are on-topic and respectful of other viewpoints.

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But it's not bad net etiquette to comment on material such as  Eurotrash on Amanda Hesser's Spice Market review or to have an ongoing thread on critics at the NYTimes?  I don't get it.

Hesser wasn't a blogger. She didn't open up a comments section allowing people to respond to her opinions.

Bruni and the New York Times are brave to include a comments section. Very few blog hosted by the mainstream media allow for feedback.

It would be the equivalent of someone setting up another forum to comment on eGullet (ok, I guess this has happened). On this hypothetical board, imagine a running conversation about your post. "Hey, did you see that post by SabaAddict. He/she really got that wrong." If I saw this hypothetical forum, I would wonder why they just didn't log into eGullet and post their dissenting opinion in the original thread. Debating Bruni's Diner Journal opinions on eGullet instead of his own blog seems to be equivalent behavior.

I'll admit that I've been blogging for a few year, and people without personal blogs might see the issue differently.

Now, I do think eGullet is good place to have a meta discussion about Bruni's blog. In fact, this post is becoming just such a discussion. Does our relationship to a mainstream media critic change when he becomes part of the online discussion world?

Obviously, eGulleters can discuss anything they like. Perhaps we would prefer to debate Bruni's opinions among ourselves.

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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But it's not bad net etiquette to comment on material such as  Eurotrash on Amanda Hesser's Spice Market review or to have an ongoing thread on critics at the NYTimes?  I don't get it.

Hesser wasn't a blogger. She didn't open up a comments section allowing people to respond to her opinions.

But her writing was commented on by others, which in turn were commented on by posters here on eGullet. The principle is the same even if the example wasn't very good.

Bruni and the New York Times are brave to include a comments section. Very few blog hosted by the mainstream media allow for feedback.

I don't know why this wouldn't be viewed in a positive light, given that on this forum at least, you stand a very good chance of having most points of view being given equal billing as long as people are respectful.

Now, I do think eGullet is good place to have a meta discussion about Bruni's blog. In fact, this post is becoming just such a discussion. Does our relationship to a mainstream media critic change when he becomes part of the online discussion world?

I would say he's been a part of our world ever since he became Mr. Grimes' replacement. His blog is just a natural extension of the online version of the articles. You could even say, well, why did it take so long for the Times to catch up? :wink:

Perhaps we would prefer to debate Bruni's opinions among ourselves.

Nothing has changed.

Mr. Bruni is a journalist, and as such, the fact that he has a blog doesn't mean that people can't comment on it here. Rather, one would say that it makes him more vulnerable to public discussion.

But don't take it from me, here's material from the man himself:

Just as the “Diner’s Journal” in the Friday newspaper did, this “Diner’s Journal” on the web will offer quick, early peeks at restaurants that have just opened but aren’t yet ready to be reviewed. In the spirit of that weekly feature, it will also present critical perspectives on restaurants that probably won’t be reviewed, given the limitations of space in the newspaper and the limits of those restaurants’ charms.

His posts ARE news, irrespective of whether or not they appeared in a print medium or online. I'm sorry, but I respectfully disagree.

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Do you disagree that this thread leaves a bad taste in TAPrice's mouth or that it's not bad netiquette? I think it's important simply to understand what it is that bothers this member than to dismiss his opinion. I don't believe he's challenging eG's right to start threads such as this one, he's merely saying it's a bit bruta figura. Can you be so sure that some points of view will not be allowed here? I'm sure of just the opposite.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Whilst I have no doubt that TAPrice's concern is sincerely felt, I must confess that I just don't get it. Food media is a permitted topic here on the eGullet forums. People are going to talk about Frank Bruni's writing wherever they want to.

TAPrice's view appears to be that, since the blog is open for public comments, any comments should be posted there. Well, it is also possible to comment on the print reviews at the Times site, and some people do. So, if we take TAPrice's argument to its logical conclusion, discussion of the Times print reviews would be inappropriate here, as well.

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Do you disagree that this thread leaves a bad taste in TAPrice's mouth or that it's not bad netiquette? I think it's important simply to understand what it is that bothers this member than to dismiss his opinion. I don't believe he's challenging eG's right to start threads such as this one, he's merely saying it's a bit bruta figura. Can you be so sure that some points of view will not be allowed here? I'm sure of just the opposite.

Bux,

You are absolutely right. I'm in no way challenging eGullet's right to discuss anything about Bruni (or any other food related topic). I was trying to articulate a gut reaction. That is why I used the term "net etiquette."

I apologize if my initial response provoked a debate about eGullet policy instead of a discussion about how our relationship to a high-profile critic changes once they blog.

While comments have been allowed on NYT reviews, no one ever expected that Bruni would read and respond to them. Bruni does not participate in the comments section (as far as I've noticed), but he does promise to read them all and reply. I think this is the difference.

My gut reaction is that, when someone becomes a blogger and accepts and responds to critique, not participating in that fora and not allowing the blogger to respond is the electronic equivalent of whispering behind someone's back.

As I said, my gut reaction is probably colored by the fact that I have a blog. I don't believe in all the blog hype, and my own blog is just a lark, but I do think of bloggers as a community.

On the other hand, I can think of many reasons I (or anyone else) would prefer to discuss Bruni on eGullet: the NYT comments might not really be open; we might prefer to have a conversation in our little community, where we know better the participatnts, etc. (I'm having flashbacks to grad school. Something about Habermas).

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)

Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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While comments have been allowed on NYT reviews, no one ever expected that Bruni would read and respond to them.

Actually, many people in food and food media join the eGullet Society forums to take part a bit in the old give-and-take: think of Ruth Reichl, Jamie Maw, and Michael Ruhlman. Bruni could certainly do the same. Habermas would be proud!

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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While comments have been allowed on NYT reviews, no one ever expected that Bruni would read and respond to them.

Actually, many people in food and food media join the eGullet Society forums to take part a bit in the old give-and-take: think of Ruth Reichl, Jamie Maw, and Michael Ruhlman. Bruni could certainly do the same. Habermas would be proud!

Exactly. There's nothing stopping Mr. Bruni -- should he wish to -- from becoming a participating member. In fact, he might already be one, who knows? :wink:

Interesting that in the two weeks since DJ began its transformation from column to blog that there are no entries on the weekend.

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Todd, also please keep in mind that you are always free to use the "!report" button to report any post you feel constitutes an ad hominem or just generally over-the-top attack on Mr. Bruni. The style and content of Bruni's writing is grist for the mill, but posts must stay within the bounds of the Member Agreement and just plain decency.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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For starters, restaurants often won’t seat incomplete parties because they have no assurance that everyone will indeed show up, and that could mean empty seats that aren’t generating any revenue.

“The party might change in its configuration, and therefore they’ve given away a table for six, and now it’s four, and they can’t redo that,” said Drew Nieporent, an owner of Nobu, Nobu 57 and Centrico, among other Manhattan restaurants, in a telephone conversation. “They want to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

All About Seating Policies

Click here, here and here for related discussion.

Click here for discussion relating to Nobu and here for a thread on Nobu 57.

Here is a thread about Ouest.

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But that was only after, and specifically because, our entrees took about an hour to reach the table after they were ordered. And only after a dozen apologies for the delay and nearly as many explanations that the restaurant was new.

Those entrees — a seared Ahi tuna steak with mashed potatoes, a skirt steak salad, a putatively gourmet grilled cheese sandwich with advertised but barely discernible prosciutto — arrived only slightly warm.

Our meal was unimpressive and, apart from its cool temperature, inoffensive. Perhaps the food will get better. It won’t get revelatory.

Getting The Kinks All Worked Out (includes a mini-review of Butterfield 8)

Click here for discussion relating to Mas.

Here is a thread on 5 Ninth.

Click here for discussion relating to Landmarc.

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It was...a bag of breadcrumbs. Yes, breadcrumbs. Not be eaten later in the evening or the next morning, but to be used, presumably, in some future cooking endeavor.

The purpose of this unusual bequest may have to do with what accompanies it: a sheet of text about the various uses of breadcrumbs from a book by the superchef Mario Batali, a television personality and one of the owners of Del Posto.  With that text and that reference, the restaurant hammers home the point that it is offering diners more than just a terrific meal. It is offering them a brush with culinary celebrity.

A Brush With Culinary Celebrity

Click here for discussion relating to Del Posto.

Here is a thread on Bar Americain.

Click here for discussion relating to Jean-Georges and Nougatine, and here for a thread on Chef Vongerichten's newest restaurant, Perry Street.

A thread on Pylos can be viewed here.

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There’s a cocktail called the Whymsy, made with Ciroc vodka, chambord, Champagne and grape juice.
The “sexy mushrooms,” another appetizer, were better, a mix of shitake, black trumpet and oyster mushrooms thickened with mascarpone and infused with a bit of truffle oil.
We tried duck ravioli with golden raisins and a Manchego cream sauce. It had a certain gooey, sweet appeal, but a limited appeal at that. It sure beat the double-cut pork chop, stuffed with Portobello mushrooms, spinach and Gorgonzola. (They like big, emphatic cheeses here.)

Of Scrabble and Food (includes a mini-review of Whym)

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