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Sep 21, 2009 10:04 AM

Frank Bruni on Charlie Rose

The original Friday show is being re-run today. Interesting to see Mr. Bruni in person - he presents a reflective, measured persona that reminds me of President Obama. Answering one of the host's questions, he opined that NYC is clearly the best restaurant city in America and possibly the world. Both stressed that this is because of the aggregate melting pot identity of the five boroughs. Bruni added that the city lacks truly great Chinese and Middle Eastern cuisine, although he has no explanation other than, possibly, that the most talented cooks leaving those areas just never emigrated as far as NY.

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  1. I enjoyed this interview and thought he was very poised and funny at the same time. I was especially moved by his comment about his mother toward the end--he must have had a wonderful relationship with both her and his grandmother. It was also interesting to learn about his approach to writing his reviews, and how he took into consideration readers who are not able to dine at the restaurants he wrote about b/c they do not live in NY.

    As an aside, his review of a restaurant at, ahem, a "gentlemen's club" is one of my all-time favorites. It is a gem and hilarious.

    Unfortunately, the NY Times Magazine excerpt of his book did nothing to whet my appetite for it.

    10 Replies
    1. re: gloriousfood

      I was flipping around and happened to catch it from the start. Towards the end Charlie Rose asked him what his fav restos in NYC are. Unfortunately they went off topic right as he was going to say where he enjoys going for pasta. Anyone have a clue what his faves are from other interviews?

      see transcript....

      CHARLIE ROSE: Do you have favorite restaurants in New York?

      FRANK BRUNI: Yeah, many of them, yeah.

      CHARLIE ROSE: Well, give me three or four.

      FRANK BRUNI: I love Le Bernardin, for a pasta fix I love...

      CHARLIE ROSE: You love Le Bernardin because it is the best.

      1. re: ios94

        Bruni started to say "Convivio" for his pasta fix. He also is partial to Minetta Tavern and 11 Madison Park. Hope this helps a little. adam

        1. re: adamshoe

          Agreed - I hear him say "Conviv..." before he was interrupted.

          1. re: greygarious

            C'mon Charlie! You asked the question and then talked over Frank's response. Who knew that Bruni was such a cutie?! adam

            1. re: adamshoe

              With the media blitz he's been doing, the charm is pretty hard to deny...

              1. re: adamshoe

                Charlie does that all the time. Love his show but it can be an exercise in frustration. He even mentioned on one show that his staff tell him not to interrupt as much as he does but he believes that's how conversation "naturally" flows. groan.

                Anyway, that NYT magazine excerpt completely whetted my appetite for Bruni's memoir. And after seeing him on CR now I want to read it even more. What about it put you off glorious food?

                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  Hi CG. Here's a previous thread that touched on the NY Times excerpt:


                  1. re: gloriousfood

                    Thanks GF . . . I don't know how I missed that. Yes, I recall now that the excerpt did end abruptly and just assumed it was to leave us wanting more. (Reading interruptus with the excerpt; listening interruptus on CR!) :-)

                    And your concern abt it minimalizing eating disorders is a good one and was picked up on in the wider media I noticed. The trajectory of how someone gets from here to there (in this case food critic at the NYT) is what interests me; but I don't like an overabundance of childhood info that's common in a lot of these memoirs - which I fear (from some of the comments here) may be the case w the book. Yes, that comment at the end abt how much his mother would have enjoyed it all got to me too.

                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                      cinnamon girl, I have read Born Round, and I will say it is not largely about his life as restaurant critic (that comes in only at the end), but covers his life as a whole, which until just a few years before he became restaurant critic, included a very dysfunctional relationship with food - disordered eating of various kinds, from the bulimia and obsessive diets to compulsive, emotional eating. It left me a bit sad, because he had so little personal confidence (even as he enjoyed professional success) and, well, lots of hangups. The tone is not as light as the excerpt suggests it might be. Just know it really is about his personal and emotional life more than about the inside story of being the NYT restaurant critic (though the 50 or so pages about that is fun). And he did have a wonderful, close relationship with his mother.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        Thanks for the heads up Caitlin. I think I'll still read it but with different expectations now.