“The zenith, the pinnacle is the New York Times restaurant critic,” says Jimmy Bradley, owner of The Red Cat restaurant in Manhattan’s Chelsea section.

For the past five years, that position has been held by Frank Bruni, a former political reporter whose witty restaurant reviews garnered him a loyal readership.

Restaurant owners do everything in their power to spot a critic in the crowd. And in a cat-and-mouse game, critics try every trick in the book to go unnoticed, so they’ll be treated like anyone else.

Bradley has been keeping tabs on Bruni, compiling a dossier that describes Bruni’s preferences, his aliases, his usual dining companions, even his clothing.

“He likes to wear pretty funky sneakers,” Bradley shares…

It’s one of the many challenges that will face new Times critic Sam Sifton. Eatmedaily.com, a food blog, already has pictures of Sifton doctored to show how he’d look in disguises ranging from Donald Trump to Groucho Marx.