Restaurant Celebrities Overshadow Brooklyn Restaurant


Eat This New York is a film about a pair of likable bumblers from St. Paul who, early in 2001, set out to open a hipster restaurant in Williamsburg. Not along the Boulevard de Bedford, where the tourist hordes wash in and out of the L train looking for ways to blow wads of cash, but way down Broadway under the M train, wedged between Dominican and Hasidic strongholds. These guys are so clueless that one of them gazes thoughtfully out the window at an Orthodox Jewish guy in knee britches and a fur hat and wonders if he’ll become a customer. Early on, they have a falling out with the prospective chef, whose face is fuzzed out, and from that point on, food is never mentioned again.

There’s an entirely dissimilar film intercut with this story: a series of talking heads featuring restaurant celebrities expostulating about the joys and hardships of running successful, high-end places.

Though the celebrities often speak the truth, it has nothing to do with the dopes in the dark hole under the M tracks, who, meanwhile, are making scant progress on the construction of what increasingly seems more like a bar. It’s not until the next summer that Moto actually opens, at which point the film ends with what looks like a successful restaurant. Though the filmmakers had a great time following the Manhattan restauranteurs around, they abandoned the untidy Brooklyn story in mid-narrative, leaving us wondering what happened to Moto. In fact, it is still open.