Frank Bruni, who sees himself not just as the New York Times restaurant reviewer, but as NYC's top chop cop, stuck on his badge today and wrote a 1,000-word police report on Peter Luger, the mother of all New York steak houses out in Brooklyn.
Bruni did the same thing with Katz's a few months back, paying a visit on the deli institution to pay respect, but also to lodge complaints and offer advice on how things might be done better under the Bruni Watch. This time around, he rescinded one of Luger's stars as punishment for gloating, coasting, harsh illumination and harsh service. "Gloating? Coasting? Gonna have to write you up for that, missy!," said Bruni, hoisting a hip boot on the back fender to write down the license plate. Message: Don't mess with the Bruni!
Now, I understand from my friends at Eater.com and other venerable sources that Luger is not what it was and needed a swift kick in the pants. I don't dispute it. But surely this does not mean taking glee in the pain the a negative review from Bruni can inflict. Every classic restaurant and bar in the city is on shaky ground in this market. No one is safe, not even Katz's and Luger, so let's not go around casually aiming bazookas at them for fun and spite.
My reaction to the Luger review will be the same one I had to the Katz's review: I'm going to dine there as soon as possible.