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Don't mess with Frank Bruni

The dining reviews in the New York Times are always fun to read -- and not just because the writing is damn good. They also serve as a counter-balance to the costly meals and excessive attitude being tossed toward a hungry public.

There's the legendary tale of how Ruth Reichl used to dress in wigs and other disguises to get treated like the common Jane. Equipped once with a kind of fat suit, she got shoddy treatment at Le Cirque -- and promptly took the place to task.

Writing in today's Times, Frank Bruni offers a similary vicarious thrill with a sharp takedown of a boite called Ago, whose owners include Robert De Niro. Check out this bit:

This restaurant isn’t in the hospitality business. It’s in the attitude business, projecting an aloofness that permeated all of my meals there, nights of wine and poses for swingers on the make, cougars on the prowl and anyone else who values a sort of facile fabulousness over competent service or a breaded veal Milanese with any discernible meat.

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