If you assume a 2-year lead time for a high-end restaurant, any such place opening today would have been informed by three years of Bruni reviews, and the realization that he probably won't appreciate what you're doing. Looking back on his tenure, I can find only three European-style non-Italian luxury restaurants that opened during his tenure and received three stars: Adour, Corton, and Country. (I am not counting transfers to new locations, like Bouley and Le Cirque.) Gilt, The Modern, Gordon Ramsay, and Café Gray all received two stars, so it's basically a 50-50 proposition.
I agree with all of that too. Except to say that the economic obstacles to opening even mid-scale, let alone upscale, restaurants trump the preferences of the Times critic. If Craig Claibourne was the critic today, it would still be extraordinarily difficult to open and fill formal restaurants.