It's a special day for the Week in Reviews, as the Examiner's Patricia Unterman releases her review on Sens a day after Meredith Brody did the same. Since Unterman and Brody are two of the more high-profile reviewers in town, it may be worthwhile to compare and contrast what the magnificent duo has to say on the Embarcadero Center's newish Med restaurant. While there's a smattering of agreement when it comes to the hits and misses of the meal, let's start off with a bit of confusion:
Brody on the setting: "There were the oddly Flintstonesian rocks punctuating the rough wood walls, the slightly surrealistic hand-holding light sconces, the big windows overlooking the Ferry Building with the Bay Bridge twinkling behind it. Upscale ski lodge was the general feeling."
Unterman on the setting (at the same restaurant, presumably): "On the escalators, the mood changes, but diners arrive at a dreamy Mediterranean fishing village ... slate floors scattered with oriental rugs; and an expansive tiled open kitchen bedecked with bowls of fruits and vegetables."
We're not quite sure if there can be two more disparate restaurant settings than Alpine ski lodge and dreamy Mediterranean fishing village—maybe an Irish taqueria?—but fortunately, there was a bit more consensus concerning the meal itself:
Brody on the manti: "I adored the fat manti, firm ravioli-like Turkish dumplings stuffed with a smooth, seductive autumn squash and chestnut puree, anointed with tangy garlicky yogurt, and sided with caramelized cauliflower and translucent cipollini onions — the best dish of the evening, I thought."
Unterman on the manti: "Tender manti ($16) (Middle Eastern ravioli) filled with winter squash and chestnut puree are served with yummy charred cauliflower, cipollini onions and yogurt."
Brody on the quail: "We all approved of the presentation of the fat Wolfe Ranch quail, whole rather than disjointed, on a bed of escarole, merguez sausage, and fingerling potatoes, surrounded by littleneck clams in the shell. But the dish proved to be just that, an assemblage rather than a combination, the disparate elements never really coming together, and the somewhat metallic-tasting clams not harmonizing with the bird the way they can in Spanish preparations with pork."
Unterman on the quail: "However, some dishes over several visits disappointed. A huge, handsome braised lamb shank ($26), grilled veal tongue ($10) and Wolfe Ranch quail with house made lamb sausages ($24) all tasted tired."
Of course, both ladies found the desserts to be ethereal—both pay special homage to the lemon essence in particular—but that should come as no surprise to anyone, given the pedigree back there. Be advised: Michael Bauer's Sens review drops the Sunday before Christmas, we're told. Anyone care to wager on how many stars will be doled out?
· Sens and Sensibility [SFW]
· Sens is a Mediterranean oasis [SFE]
· Eater Inside Sneak Peek: Sens [~ESF~]