One of the city’s most prominent restaurateurs took out a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on Wednesday, accusing the newspaper’s chief food critic of lacking the bona fides to do the job.
“Your readers would not expect your drama critic to have no background in drama or your architecture critic to not be an architect,” Jeffrey Chodorow wrote. “For a publication that prides itself on integrity, I feel your readers should be better informed as to this VERY IMPORTANT fact, so they can give your reviews the weight, or lack thereof, they deserve.”
The ad comes on the heels of Frank Bruni’s scathing review of Chodorow’s newest Manhattan eatery, Kobe Club, which specializes in serving tender and fatty Kobe beef from Japan. A 10-ounce rib-eye portion of the beer-fed cattle costs $150 on Chodorow’s menu.
“Although Kobe Club does right by the fabled flesh for which it’s named, it presents too many insipid or insulting dishes at prices that draw blood from anyone without a trust fund or an expense account,” Bruni wrote Feb. 7.
At least one other high-profile critic has also panned the restaurant. In the highly competitive New York restaurant world, such criticisms can be the financial kiss of death.
“I’d like to see The New York Times have a food critic that has no agenda and has culinary experience, which is not Frank Bruni,” Chodorow said.
The ad was addressed to Pete Wells, editor of the newspaper’s Dining section, who said the paper has no plans to move Bruni to another job. He also said he had his employee’s back.
“Yes. Absolutely,” Wells said in an e-mail.
According to a biography on the Times’ Web site, Bruni has served as chief of the paper’s Rome bureau and in other news positions but has no prior experience as a restaurant critic.