Lauren Collins in The New Yorker:
Most mornings, Frank Bruni brews a pot of coffee and reads the online edition of the Times at his apartment, on the Upper West Side. Bruni, the paper’s chief restaurant critic, had been warned that last Wednesday’s Dining In section would contain an unusual advertisement. “I thought, Oh, yeah, this is the morning it’s going to be out,” he said recently, “so I went over to Starbucks, and got a paper.” There it was, on F-9: a full-page letter, addressed to the section’s editor, from the restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow. Chodorow had paid almost forty thousand dollars for the ad, including a premium for its placement, directly across from Bruni’s weekly column. In the course of seven paragraphs, he accused the Times of an ad-hominem vendetta, assailed Bruni’s credentials—“Mr. Bruni comes to us from Rome where he was not the local ‘expert’ on Italian cuisine; he wrote about politics”—and announced the launch of a personal blog, which would include a feature entitled “Following Frank.”
Chodorow’s grudge stemmed from Bruni’s February 7th zero-star review of Kobe Club, his samurai-inspired steak house. “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 had written.
More here. And here’s the indefatigable Anthony Bourdain on this culinary brouhaha:
One might ask if it’s ever a good idea anyway to spend 40,000 bucks reminding the public that the New York Times think you suck. And that you are the genius responsible for MIX, the lunatic-sounding CAVIAR AND BANANA, the public melt-down called ROCCO’S, the joke-magnet ENGLISH IS ITALIAN and the rumored SPOTTED DICK.