Would you like to spend your car payment on 18 ounces of "Kobe-style" beef? How about $390 for a single Australian Porterhouse steak? A la carte, mind you. All while seated under 2,000 Samurai swords dangling blade-down over your dinner table? Then Kobe Club in mid-town Manhattan is the place for you.
This is the latest venture of Jeff Chodorow, better known as the guy with the 9 o'clock shadow bickering with Rocco DiSpirito on the short-lived (but somewhat entertaining) reality show, The Restaurant. Incidentally, this show and the restaurant itself ended with a litigious bang, both parties hobbling off with a little less dignity. Both managed to regain momentum, however, and though Rocco has pretty much stayed away from further restaurant involvement (so as to not become Page Six fodder again, I suspect), he's followed the celebrity chef cookbook and public appearance path. Jeff Chodorow, meanwhile, re-established the bombed restaurant into Caviar & Banana, possibly the worst name for a restaurant ever and equally as unsuccessful as the first.
Fast forward to Feb 2007, and Chodorow now has a new bickering buddy. Frank Bruni, esteemed food critic of the New York Times, rated Chodorow's Kobe Club zero stars. Yes, ZERO stars. The review is a pretty entertaining read; what followers of the NYT ratings would call "pure Bruni". I like the "atmosphere" summary: "A dimly lighted theater of about 100 seats that's part samurai fantasia, part torture chamber and packed with chunky guys on expense accounts." Ha! Rate on, Bruni, rate on.
In response, Jeff Chodorow took out an $80,000 full-page ad in the Times Dining section, calling the critics unqualified, citing a personal vendetta against him and claiming that the "Rocco's curse" has been the downfall of his post-show ventures. It's essentially 1100 words of a whiny attempt at responsive vitriol, and a overdone declaration of entrance into the blogosphere. Hilarity ensues.
Incidentally, Frank Bruni responded via the New York Sun, saying, "None of [my comments] had any personal grudge. The next time he opens a restaurant that seems to be the kind that warrants a look and a review, it will get the same open-minded reaction that any new place gets." Ohhh, snap!
Moral of the story: Everybody should create a blog to prove who's balls are bigger. And this is a perfect way to make it back onto Page Six.
(Big hat tip to Becks & Posh, a foodie fav, and Eater.com, a food blog with a gossipy leaning)