Baueriffic returns to Spruce to find a restaurant that has matured quite nicely in the year that has passed since he gave it three stars. When the Big Bad MB revisits a biggie sans chef change so quickly, it usually means that an upgrade is in order:
Yet I'll put my money on Spruce. Despite the fact that the health care and sick leave regulations, as well as the higher minimum wage, generally make doing business in San Francisco more expensive, the prices at Spruce are more reasonable [than sister restaurant Village Pub]. The food is better, too. In fact, a return visit a little over a year after my original review shows that Mark Sullivan has hit his stride.The flavors have matured to "exciting" and "memorable" status, the service is clicking, and thus, the Pac Heights hotspot is boosted up to vaunted 3.5-star status. [Chron]
Amanda Gold gives Poesia some Chron ink with a fairly glowing review for the homey Italian joint, though it only results in the standard deuce: "When the nearly 50 seats are filled, a noisy, celebratory din permeates the room ... [owner Francesco] D'Ippolito is from Calabria, and his Southern Italian menu waffles between rustic cuisine that tastes like something Nonna would make ... and refined, expertly plated dishes." [Chron]
Meredith Brody takes her turn at Zare at Fly Trap, and gets "Persianal" (her word, not ours): "A recent dinner at Zaré at Fly Trap reminded us of just how satisfying eating out can be ... But the new menu couldn't be more different. A casual glance takes in a myriad of exciting ingredients from all over the map: curry, verjus, pickled jalapeño, harissa, honey, pomegranate, bergamot, chestnuts, chickpeas, fregola, preserved lime, saffron. I've rarely seen so many different dishes I wanted to order." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger channels Tim Burton at the latest "tony pizzeria" to grace town, Joie de Vivre's Good Pizza: "It emphasizes high quality ingredients — how about some fromage blanc from Cowgirl Creamery, or bacon from Nueske? — and it's also bright and good-looking in a way that reminded me of IKEA ... The menu is quite limited, with a twist ... The twist is that you can put together your own pizza, which, so far as I know, isn't permitted at such places as Delfina, Pizzetta 211, Piccino, or Gialina." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: Josh Sens had 2.5 stars for Murray Circle in the December issue of SF Mag, Jeff Cox of the PressDem adds to chorus of raves for La Toque, the PressDem's blog treks down to the Moss Room, the EBX likes Tiki Tom's but is disappointed with the cocktails, the MIJ visits San Rafael's festive and unfortunately-named Whipper Snapper, and last but certainly not least, the Bauer Sunday review doled out 2.5 stars to Sonoma's Estate.