Dear Robert DeNiro,
I used to be your biggest fan. I watched your movies. I read Untouchable: A Biography of Robert DeNiro. I have a framed drawing of you, gifted to me by one of my best friends, hanging in my parents house. I even named my dog after you.
You've done wonders for film, and even closer to my heart, TriBeCa. You started the TriBeCa film festival. You opened Nobu, which allowed me to taste the best Miso Cod I've ever had.
But you started doing things that were a bit out of character. Rocky and Bullwinkle. Meet the Fockers. Analyze That 2. And let's not forget to mention that whole Paris prositution ring thing (which I don't believe for a second, I'm still with you!).
But this time, you've gone too far.
It's almost impossible to find a bad restaurant in Manhattan. It is what I miss desperately about living in NYC. Sure, there are always a few bad apples, but they are not referred as "trendy" or "hot". There is no buzz surrounding them. They are strange restaurants that you stumble in to in culinary wastelands such as 86th Street on the east side.
But you have opened Ago (pronounced AH-go) to a torrent of negative criticism, including a big, fat, goose egg from none other than Frank Bruni. The last time he ever gave zero stars to a restaurant was to Ninja- and anybody who has ever even heard of this restaurant will know why. Frankly, I don't know how they get away with this restaurant outside of Times Square.
In the article, Bruni tells us that the bartender spilled a bottle (yes, bottle) of wine on his dining companion, which he compares to " the “Poseidon Adventure” of wine spills. Shelley Winters could have done the backstroke in it". The bartender tells the manager and hostess, trying to help them get seated earlier (they had been waiting for a half an hour after their scheduled reservation time), but the only response he gets is a laugh from his colleagues. They were finally seated 52 minutes later at "a round table little bigger than a bike wheel." When the waiter could not fit any more food on the table, he actually "audibly contemplated balancing a fifth, communal appetizer that we’d ordered on top of our wine glasses."
To make matters worse, Bruni tells us this about your food (and the bad service, to boot): The veal milanese was "was pounded so thin that the breading on top met the breading on the bottom without pausing for much of anything in between. A vegan could have made peace with it." and "no pig should perish for a pork chop as dry as one at Ago."
Please, Bobby, do us a solid and fix your restaurant. Fire your GM, fire your chef, and show us the DeNiro we all know and love from the days of Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, The Godfather Part II. That DeNiro wouldn't have put up with NO CRAP FROM NOBODOY.
I'm rooting for you.
P.S. Here is the article if you haven't had a chance to check it out.