Becco is the first place opened by Joe Bastianich, the author of "Restaurant Man." I ate there -- once.
My wife asked for ketchup and the waitress looked at her as if she was someone the Men in Black ought to be chasing. In some of Bastianich's other eateries (he and his partner, Mario Batali, own a bunch in New York, Las Vegas and Los Angeles), he doesn't put salt and pepper on tables. "If you're a chef-driven restaurant, why would you allow the customer to alter the flavor of the food?" he asks.
That kind of brash attitude has served him well as a judge on Fox-TV's "Master Chef." And it must work with foodies, too, since his establishments are largely successful. But in a book, well, not so much.
Part of the problem is his seemingly unending need to prove his street creds, mostly by cursing. Everything is "f" this and "f" that -- and by that I don't mean food. It's -- and please pardon the expression -- unappetizing. He also uses this opportunity to get even with everyone, including critics who dared to say something negative about him, Jewish customers at his parents' restaurant and even his friend Bill Clinton.
Sections on how he staffs his restaurants are worded in a distasteful way: Bartenders need to be "hot-looking guys and good looking girls with a nice set of tits."
As a guy who runs a bunch of mostly high-end restaurants, he should know that presentation is important. Though he runs restaurants that have received three- and the rarer four-star review, he sadly comes across as a McDonald's kind of guy.