Ramsay's knife is out for New York critic

Chef upset by 'personal' attack against him in review of his first Manhattan restaurant
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The Independent US

Not content with giving the food at Gordon Ramsay's first New York restaurant a roasting, America's most feared restaurant critic has heaped fresh abuse on Britain's most notorious and famous chef.

The New York Times's food writer, Frank Bruni - who last week delivered a withering review of Ramsay's new Manhattan eaterie, at The London NYC Hotel - has now stuck the knife in deeper, listing a slew of further complaints against the restaurant in his online diary.

Bruni - whose reviews are said to have the power to make or break any restaurant - was particularly annoyed with Ramsay's toilets.

In his blog, he criticises the "fiddly locks" which meant that he twice barged in on other diners engaged in personal "business". He goes on to moan about the "buzz-kill" aspect of having countless autograph hunters and celebrity acolytes taking pictures throughout the evening, which was "especially disturbing" given the kind of "calm" and "deliberate hush" the restaurant was trying to promote.

Bruni's latest broadside follows his official review of Gordon Ramsay at The London, published last Wednesday. In it, Bruni panned the restaurant for "lacking in the most important thing of all: excitement".

He noted a general "dearth of inspiration", while going on to say that the "red letters above the doors - the ones spelling exit - exert the most potent tug on your attention".

Ramsay was said by friends to be "upset" by the onslaught, and to consider the attacks "personal", rather than a genuine reflection of the quality of his new restaurant.

Bruni, for his part, denied the review was in any way a targeted attack on Ramsay himself: "Of course it wasn't a personal attack," he told The Independent on Sunday. "I don't know the man; I have no personal feelings about him. I characterised his public image, that's all."

Bruni gave the 40-year-old ex-Glasgow Rangers player just two stars out of four in his main review, taking him to task for relying on luxuries such as foie gras and truffles as much as "real" imagination.

Frank Bruni on Gordon Ramsay

In 'The New York Times'

"Rarely has a conquistador as bellicose as Mr Ramsay landed with such a whisper. It's not an unappealing sound, but it's nothing that's going to prick up your ears."

In his personal blog

"The problem: those swinging doors have to be positioned so precisely vis-á vis-the locking system, and that mechanism has to be finessed with such delicacy, that some diners don't succeed in locking their restroom doors. How do I know this? Because on my very first visit to The London NYC Hotel, during my very first attempt... I twice in a row pushed on the door of a restroom that hadn't been successfully locked, felt it give, began to take a step inside and... encountered another diner!"