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Week in Reviews: Terzo Keeps Its Three Stars

FYI: Terzo's interior stayed the same size. [Photo: Yelp/Melissa W.]

In a bit of a half-hearted review, Senor Bauer revisits Terzo, the Cow Hollow restaurant that recently abandoned its small plates concept in favor of a more traditional approach. The only differences from its prior three star status? Literally just the prices and portions, says MB, which is exactly what was advertised:

On a recent Update visit, I asked our waiter about the change. He answered that many customers didn't get the concept and complained of leaving hungry.

In most cases, the dishes have remained the same. Gordon took some of the more popular items, including the grilled sea bass with garbanzo beans and romesco, and supersized them, in both quantity and price. For example, the fish - which is as delicious as I remember - went from $12 for what was a smaller piece of halibut to $28 for sea bass. While the price more than doubled, the portion looks to be about a third larger ... Diners often complain that small plates end up being more expensive, but in the case of Terzo, the traditional format requires more cash.

Appropriately, Terzo keeps its three stars, as The Bauer declares everything status quo down on Steiner ... except for the price and portions, if that wasn't abundantly clear. [Chron]

Paul Reidinger does inaugural review honors at the industrial yet cozy (and so hot right now) Serpentine. Let's just say that the buzz shan't be stopping anytime soon, as Chris Kronner's place definitely impresses the Guardian's food man: "It's as if a country inn had decided to squat in one of Charles Dickens's abandoned blacking factories. Not many country inns, on the other hand, whether in Dickens's time or our own, have served food quite as good as Serpentine's. California cuisine has gone from novelty to cliché to beyond cliché and back again, but at Serpentine it does what all good cooking should do: cause you to pause, to notice, to inquire." [SFBG]

Ms. Meredith Brody combats the flu season with chicken soup and pho, and takes several places out for a spin, including the Richmond outpost of Ana Mandara's Khai Duong, Pot de Pho. And she didn't like it: "The pho was just fine. But when you only offer five varieties, and announce on the menu that Chef Duong has spent a lifetime eating and researching pho throughout the world, simmering his broth for many hours with Wasami Kobe-style beef bone and alkalinized water (another new one on me), I expected to be blown away ... I lingered by a big glass case filled with bowls bearing cloves, fennel seeds, star anise, and bundles of cinnamon bark. I wished I'd tasted more of them in Pot de Pho's broth." [SFW]

Josh Sens heads up to Napa's newest star Ubuntu, where the ridiculousness of a yoga studio/vegetarian restaurant is surpassed by the fact that everything really just works: "If ever a restaurant risked a fusillade from satirists and cynics, it's Ubuntu, in downtown Napa, which offers not only lunch and dinner, but also a quiet spot for downward-facing dog ... Fox News commentators would have a field day. Even sentient beings, hearing of this very Left Coast concept, could be forgiven their sudden urge to tune in Bill O'Reilly, toss a veal chop on the fire, and quadruple their consumption of fossil fuels. What spares Ubuntu from self-parody are the same factors that make it a swell place to eat. As a vegetable restaurant, it proves that meatless meals can be both bountiful and beautiful, and that forgoing fauna needn't be an exercise in pious self-denial. There are no holy gestures of asceticism, but also no excuses or apologies." [SF Mag]

ELSEWHERE: Rumi in San Carlos is good enough for 2.5 Chron stars, the Guardian's Ailene Sankur calls an Indian brunch a "breakfast of blandness" at Berkeley's Venus, Aleta Watson has a glowing 3.5 stars for Palo Alto's Shokolaat, and Bauer dropped two stars on Lafayette's Gigi over the weekend.

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