A Food Fight in New York City

When New York Times critic Frank Bruni gave an unflattering review of the new Kobe Club restaurant, chef and owner Jeffrey Chodorow responded in some detail.

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REBECCA ROBERTS, host:

And this final note, apparently hell hath no fury like a restaurateur scorned by zero stars. Last week, Frank Bruni of the New York Times butchered the Kobe Club, a hipper-than-thou Manhattan steak house featuring Japanese Kobe beef. Bruni found the décor alarming, particularly the 2000 samurai swords suspended points-down from the ceiling. If Akira Kurosawa hired the Marquis de Sade as an interior decorator, writes Bruni, he might end up with a gloomy rec-room like this. Bruni found the food uneven at best. While the Kobe beef itself was rapturous, a clam had a metallic tang. And then there was the price tag.

Kobe beef comes at famously astronomic prices, so Bruni cut some slack there. It was the $32 chicken that stuck in his craw. So zero stars it was, along with a few snarky comments about Kobe Club owner Jeffrey Chodorow. Chodorow is not a man to take insult lightly. He spent something like $115,000 on a full page in the Times refuting Bruni. He defended the décor. It's not for everyone. He defended the food. Bad clams happen. He defended himself as a well-intentioned big-hearted guy who loves his mother.

And then he switched to offense, saying Frank Bruni does not have the credentials to critique food. Your readers would not expect your drama critic to have no background in drama or your architecture critic to not be an architect. Chodorow now plans to trail Frank Bruni and re-review the restaurants he visits, on a blog, naturally. Perhaps the two should just cut down a couple of those samurai swords and settle this is a duel.

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