Frank Bruni is not dead, but that might seem to be the case. The New York Times restaurant critic has stepped down from his role. The rumor, it turns out, was true this time. OK, so let's not get all melodratic about what this means to New York, The Times and dining in general. Bruni, who'd ascended to the post in April 2004, will still be around, says an internal Times memo pasted on Gawker today. He'll write for the Sunday magazine and, the menu promises, he'll be recruited for the odd dining assignment. We'll still have his vicious takedown of Charles ("Dear Graydon I was Wrong") to keep us warm at night.
Alas, Bruni leaves us with one noticable chuck on his otherwise sirloin record: his ill-informed put-down of the Corner Bistro. Perhaps his new life will afford him the chance to rectify this injustice.
As we enter a frightening, Bruniless universe, it means a few things beyond our own selfish longings. It means the man without a face can finally show his. He can take up Martha Stewart on that invitation to come on her show. The Waverly can take down the silly grainy internet photo supposedly of Bruni circa ten years ago that they had pasted above the sink in the employees washroom.
It also means that every would-be gourmand with a half-assed opinion about what constitutes a decent meal — those proto-Platts — will be coming out of the woodwork offering to take up the mantle.