Two weeks after upgrading Spruce to the 3.5-plateau, The Bauermeister busts out the heavy stamp again at the time warp that is Madrona Manor. Interestingly enough, the Victorian setting—fireplaces, drapes, chandeliers—is contrasted by its forward-thinking chef, Jess Mallgren:
It's an unlikely setting for a chef who makes powder out of olive oil for one of his complimentary appetizers, whips up foam of Parmesan cheese for soup, cooks an egg sous vide to float in his silken onion veloute, and pours liquid nitrogen into custard to make ice cream tableside ... In comparison to places like La Toque in Napa, Madrona Manor is a bargain splurge.The $85 six-course tasting menu impresses enough that MB proclaims Madrona Manor and its innovative ways to be a Healdsburg must-visit, just like Cyrus; it gets upgraded from its prior 2.5 all the way up to 3.5 stars. [Chron]
Carol Ness is riding shotgun in the food section this week, and she has a deuce for Henry's, the Berkeley classic that recently got a Joie de Vivre overhaul into a gastropub: "In the kitchen, Blyden's MO is to take comfort food and give it a world tweak ... The gastropub concept has made Henry's a more appealing place for more palates, but I'm not sure the gastropub prices ($12 for a burger) are a great fit for a college town." [Chron]
Paul Reidinger finds himself at Amber India on Yerba Buena Lane, and oddly enough, it reminds him of a curry-laden version of Postrio"Amber India smells bewitchingly of curry while looking like, in its elegant stackedness, Postrio ... Why would they come to Amber India, apart from its convenience and style? One reason might be that the food emerging from the kitchen is gratifyingly spicy." [SFBG]
In lieu of a normal review, the Weekly takes on a holiday shopping dining tour, wherein Matt Stafford compares mall food experiences: "The Westfield Centre on Market Street offers 180 outlets' worth of nerve-thrashing claustrophobia as well as a subterranean food court where the rabid shopper can fuel up between buying jags. ... Macy's basement Marketplace is a considerably more festive, less frantic place to chill out and grab a quick bite." [SFW]
THE ELSEWHERE: Stafford pulls double duty this week, also hitting Berkeley's Corso for the EBX, the MIJ hits an old-timer at the Tiburon's Milano, the Single Guy is at Mua in Oakland, Lady Hopstress is happy at Five Happiness, and the Sunday review had a big shiny tres for Nettie's Crab Shack.