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Food fight cooks up a trip to Seattle

Post by News Tribune Staff on Feb. 26, 2007 at 9:49 am | No Comments »
February 26, 2007 9:49 am

I’ve been keeping my eye on a culinary kerfuffle involving a New York restaurant owner and the New York Times’ restaurant critic.

Now there’s a local angle.

But, first, the backstory.

Frank Bruni wrote a less-than-positive review of Jeffrey Chodorow’s pricey steak-and-swords palace, Kobe Club. Bruni liked the steak. He didn’t like the decor — thousands of samurai swords hanging upside-down from the ceiling.

Chodorow bought a full-page ad in the Times last week, at a price that’s been estimated at up to $80,000. Chodorow’s gripe boils down to this:

1) Bruni’s review was a personal attack;

2) Bruni’s review hurts innocent employees (“you should have critics on your staff that celebrate and support the efforts of people who work in New York”);

3) Bruni, formerly the newspaper’s Rome reporter, has no experience (or not the right type of experience).

Bruni’s response, as reported in The New Yorker:

I certainly do not consider it a badge of honor. I really don’t feel like, “Ooh, wow.” I have the privilege of getting guaranteed space in the paper to say what I think. If someone wants to spend the money, then it’s fair, I guess. I totally understand that he’s disappointed in the Kobe Club review, but I can assure you—I can assure him—that it’s an utterly honest, if ultimately subjective, assessment.

And now for the local angle, also from The New Yorker:

Bruni promised that he could review future Chodorow projects with "a completely open mind," but that may be moot. Chodorow said that his next restaurant will have a Pacific Northwest theme, and added that he was offering a trip to Seattle to any employee who blocks Bruni from its premises.

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