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Week in Reviews: Bistro Jeanty Crushed, One-Starred

It's a holiday massacre of memorable proportions at Bistro Jeanty. First, not only was Bauer recognized, but owner-chef Philippe Jeanty personally stopped by the table to pay his respects. And yet, somehow, some way, the meal at the (previously) three-star Yountville staple remained a mess. A sampling of the carnage:

When the bone marrow ($12.50), covered with a thick bordelaise sauce, was brought to the table it was cold enough to congeal. It was one of the rare instances where I've sent something back in the course of a review. If I needed more proof that the restaurant has grown lethargic since my last visit more than a year ago, I only had to cut into the confit duck leg in the cassoulet ($24.50) to discover that it wasn't cooked enough either; it was cold and blood-red in the center.
And those were just the first two disaster dishes, which, it should be noted, arrived after the recognized critic was given an "unusable" fork. You really do hate to see that. In the end, Baueriffic sums it up with a scathing indictment that the chef is cutting all kinds of corners and the restaurant has "let success - and its Michelin star - go to its head." Merry Christmas, Jeanty: you get the lowly, lowly one star. [Chron]

The Chron's secondary review is up in Wine Country too, and Carey Sweet has 2.5 stars for Napa's slightly-gimmicky Elements: "As he did at ZuZu, [Charles] Weber sends out mostly small plates, globally accented, loosely interpreted, and priced from $4 for olives to $16 for an elegant take on liver and onions. .. For its periodic stumbles with the savory cooking, Elements has many excellent details in place ... All the pieces add up to a lovely addition to the neighborhood." [Chron]

Paul Reidinger stops by Noe Valley's newish offshoot of Henry's Hunan: "So Henry's Hunan doesn't look like a typical Chinese restaurant. This appears to be a trend, and is a welcome one. The food, meanwhile, is outstanding and moderately priced. As at Brandy Ho's over in the Castro District, the menu includes a selection of Hunan-style smoked meats. The usual suspects of Chinese restaurants are also well-represented, from wonton soup to Mongolian chicken. But Henry's also offers some dishes I've never seen before." [SFBG]

Madame Brody double-dips this week at a pair of tearooms: Lovejoy's and Crown and Crumpet, where she discovers that she likes good food: "I love to eat this way, grazing among lots of different tastes and textures. There are tiny classic cucumber sandwiches, smoked salmon ones, ham ones with a thin layer of chutney, and chicken salad ones perked up with pesto. As I'm toying between buttering a bit of crumpet or choosing a sweet or a savory bite, I think this is like the English version of tapas — little plates of food meant to encourage you in your drinking." [SFW]

THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX braves the new gourmet ghetto at Temescal's Aunt Mary's Cafe, the CoCo Times looks back on the year's best newcomers, the Daily Feed discovers Yats in Jack's Club, NSAM shares some crisp shots of dinner at Serpentine, and earlier this week, the Sunday Chron review had 2.5 stars for Zare at Fly Trap.

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