Meredith Brody is back on the review beat, and she takes the first crack at Ola Fendert's Local Kitchen & Wine Merchant. Despite some inconsistencies between the apps and mains, Local pretty much pleases Lady Brody (and anyone who notes the use of hip language in her title):
We started with a shared pesto and prosciutto pizza on a crackery crust, with a thin layer of fresh mozzarella and (not quite enough) roasted garlic. It did the wood-fired oven proud, as does a lovely assortment of clams and mussels in the shell ...A return lunchtime visit offers up a similar fluctuation of same highs and lows, from "moist and tasty" roast chicken and a "stunning" pear salad to "bland" soup and "unalcoholic" tiramisu. The upshot? Impressive space and scope with plenty of high points, but a wee bit more consistency still needed. [SFW]
But after our punchy, well-flavored starters, things got a bit muted. The pan-seared mahimahi seemed a little mushy and wan on its bed of mashed potatoes, and was not so well served by its green olive–parsley vinaigrette and shaved raw artichokes ... It was elegant comfort food, more successful than the other comfort-food dishes we'd tried, but still a trifle bland.
In case you missed it over the long weekend, Michael Bauer dropped a rather impressive 2.5 stars upon O Izakaya Lounge, the always-empty but still-promising izakaya posted up in the new Joie de Vivre-ified Hotel Kabuki: "An empty restaurant is generally not the best environment in which to assess the food, especially when the plates are designed to be shared, surrounded by happy drinkers ... But once I started eating, I no longer missed the party vibe. The menu, crafted by Nick Balla, who worked at Ozumo and Americano and traveled in Japan, is interesting and reasonably priced, with the most expensive item being a New York strip steak with poached daikon for $19. Flavors are bold enough to go with the creative cocktails, wine and sake, which is at the heart of the izakaya tradition." [Chron]
Getting back to the present day, Paul Reidinger heads on to Monk's Kettle, the Mission's new beer-heavy hotspot with more than just a veritable cornucopia of brews—and hipsters!—at the ready: "If the wealth of craft beers is part of the Monk's Kettle's appeal to this social cohort, so too must be the food, which is a surprisingly vegetarian-friendly version of pub grub. Many of the most memorable dishes are meatless and would do credit to the kitchen at Greens. But hipsters like their burgers too, apparently; on a recent evening while eating at the bar, we were flanked by young burger eaters dressed à la mode, two and three to a side." [SFBG]
Ailene Sankur has the other Guardian review, and in a town short on Turkish joints, not much bad can be said about the Tenderloin's A La Turca: "But deep in the cracked-out heart of the Tenderloin resides the consistently delicious and ridiculously affordable A la Turca ... Add the smell of diesel, cigarettes, and that ubiquitous lemon cologne, and I would swear I was in the back streets of Istanbul. And thankfully, the food is incredible." [SFBG]
Amanda Gold is also in the TL area, two-starring Sudachi, quite possibly the only sushi restaurant with paella on the menu: "The paella ($12), in fact, was as weird as it sounded, overwhelmed by pimenton, and studded with ingredients - Chinese sausage, tempura soft shell crab and green beans - that didn't agree with the spice ... Despite these missteps, however, I appreciate the chances Hwang takes with the menu - it's a sign of his passion. With a little more focus, Sudachi will likely remain the type of restaurant where any diner can find something interesting to eat." [Chron]
ELSEWHERE: Carol Ness has 2.5 stars for Oakland's Soizic Bistro, The Tablehopstress takes her turn at Yoshi's in the Fillmore, the Daily Feed gang checks out Tiburon's new Cottage Eatery, the Gourmet Chronicles takes a long, early look at Waterbar, and Christopher Elbow gets some national love from Serious Eats.