As expected with the departure of Randy Lewis, Mecca has taken a big step backwards and Michael Bauer pulls no punches in a fierce—yes, fierce—review that sees a smattering of dropped bombs. Let's get to it, shall we? Boom:
I don't understand what management is trying to achieve. Instead of the light, fresh food that once buoyed the spirits, there are now heavy, mostly sweet and soft concoctions that seem to be trapped in the 1980s. None of the nine dishes we tried were very good and one - sweet potato gnocchi with chewy fried spinach ($18) - was inedible
While I understand the need to make the food synchronize with a lounge environment, Mecca's attempt isn't successful, and seasonality seems to have been thrown out in the process. As far as the kitchen is concerned, it might as well be summer.And more boom:
The cheesecake tasted like something you'd pull out of the freezer, and the beer ice cream seemed like overkill. Three scoops, each made with a different beer and drizzled with malt syrup and chocolate, didn't satisfy once the novelty wore off. How are these often overwrought combinations considered lounge food, I wondered?When The Bauer says that the redeeming quality of a restaurant is overpriced $12 drink, that's never, ever a good sign. The result? A hefty downgrade from 3 to 1.5 stars. [Chron]
Robert Lauriston takes the wheel at SF Weekly and heads to eight-year-old Shanghai-style gem Jai Yun, anointing it the best Chinese restaurant in town: "[Chef] Nei prepares some of the most refined and elaborate Chinese food in the Bay Area, uses the best ingredients, and makes all of his preserves, charcuterie, pickles, and so on in-house, but the restaurant's decor and furnishings are modest and generic. There's no written menu; Nei decides what to cook based on what he finds in the market each day, and over the course of a couple of hours sends your table a dozen or so courses, each served family style. If you're lucky, the server will speak enough English to tell you what you're eating." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger treks down the coast to Navio, the ritzy Half Moon Bay restaurant showcasing the rare combo of decent food and views: "When preparing coastal cuisine, it helps for a restaurant to have a coast at hand, to get both the kitchen and the patronage in the mood. Navio, which serves this sort of cooking in the baronial Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, does enjoy the services of a rather scenic bit of coast, with heavy surf beating rhythmically at the edges of a links-style golf course that unfurls itself like a gray-green ribbon beneath the restaurant's windows." [SFBG]
ELSEWHERE: Tablehopper indulges in some crab feastage at PPQ Dungeness Island, The Chron has a standard two stars for Kelley's No Bad Days Cafe, The Guardian's Juliana Froggatt is at Oakland's Sahn Maru Korean BBQ and VinDivine loves Monk's Kettle.