• Sam Sifton, the Times' new restaurant critic, answers a couple of questions about his new gig over on Diner's Journal. Meanwhile, Grub Street and The Feedbag sound off on how food criticism has changed over the past few years.
• The 24 stars that Frank Bruni reclaimed during his five-year tenure. [Eater]
• Douglas Rodriguez has parted ways with Nuela, which opens this fall. [NYT]
• Gabriel Stulman's new spot, Joseph Leonard, opens this eve. [Eater]
• The critics: In his third-to-last review, Frank Bruni downgrades Danny Meyer's Union Square Cafe from three stars to two; the Daily News' Danyelle Freeman is more impressed with the drinks at Hotel Griffou than she is with the food; TONY's Jay Cheshes gives SHO Shaun Hergatt three out of five stars; the Post's Steve Cuozzo tears Harbour apart; and Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton heads out to Nick & Toni's and decides the best thing about it "is the parking lot."
It's been an incredibly turbulent year for the Manhattan real estate market, to say the least. Are things looking up? Is there more pain still to come? For a little insight, we interrupted a very busy Howard Lorber, the chairman and co-owner of the real estate giant Prudential Douglas Elliman and the chairman of the board of Nathan's Famous. We didn't pester Lorber with any questions about hot dogs, though. Just real estate.
• Still looking for a place to celebrate the inauguration? You're in luck. A long list of restaurants and bars have special events planned. [GS, Eater, Metromix]
• Newly opened restaurants have been hit the hardest by the recession. [NYT]
• A few more gloomy indicators: High-end eateries are allowing diners to bring their own wine and Daniel will host a beer-tasting next month. [NYP, CNY]
• The dining crime wave may be over: Cops have nabbed two suspects. [NYP]
• Sad news for hot dog fans: The original Nathan's may be forced to close as part of the plan to "revitalize" Coney Island. [NYP]
• Emeril Lagasse will guest-judge the final two episodes of Top Chef. [Eater]
As is custom, tomorrow is the Nathan's Hot Dog contest in Coney Island. Joey "Jaws" Chestnut will be defending the title—66 hot dogs in 12 minutes—against his primary competitor, Takeru "The Tsunami" Kobayashi. Yes, naturally, you can still bet on the outcome. (Sportsbook.com has Chestnut as the 5-6 favorite.) ESPN will broadcast the nonsense at 12 noon. [Fox5, Sports Odds]