The Danny Meyer Mystery may be over. While we yesterday suggested that the guilty might be Esquire's John Mariani, that appears not to be the case. Several sources suggest we check out Crain's Bob Lape. Following the Eater cue that "the list of reviewiers who, circa 2000, employed a star system and goose-egged Tabla and two-starred Blue Smoke is not long," we looked at the Crain's archives. Results? In 1999, Lape gave Tabla no stars ("With his new Indian/American restaurant, Tabla, Danny Meyer dares go where few have succeeded. So far, he hasn't either."), but after experiencing Meyer's hospitality, he found Blue Smoke worthy of two stars. ("Magic dust. that's what Danny Meyer brings to his new restaurants").
The case seems pretty airtight to us, save for Meyer's description of Crain's as influential. Bob Lape, you, sir, are a credit to the noble profession of food criticism. And Danny Meyer, you've somehow wrung two days of publicity for your new book (Setting the Table, available now) out of this: You, sir, are a genius. We wouldn't expect any good reviews from Crain's in the near future, though.
Subpar Favor [Crains via Highbeam Research]
New York can take its 'cue from Meyer's Blue Smoke ; Ribs, jazz spice up barbecue scene; hard to get in even as tweaks continue. [Crain's, via FindArticles]
UPDATE: A reader sends this walk down memory lane from Romenesko.