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Week in Reviews: Yoshi's, Spruce and Much More

James Newman, 12/27/07

With The Bauer resting up for the Top 100, let's start off this week's review review with a "snazzy and jazzy" Ms. Meredith Brody, who is at Yoshi's, enjoying one subpar (and non-drunk) affair and one perfect one at the jazz giant:

Our first meal is something of a mixed bag ... Even though our server knew we were headed to the club, we've run out of time, and have to skip dessert. We haven't drunk much (one bottle of wine, one carafe of sake), and I'm still slightly hungry. But a choice table has been reserved right on the dancefloor of the two-level club for us, and we settle in for part two of a lovely evening.

A month later, I'm returning to Yoshi's just for the food – and tonight our meal is almost flawless. It's a lot easier to order and share for three of us, with the help of our extremely knowledgeable server.

The conclusion reached by Brody: beyond the many Yoshi's theatrics, "the interesting, classy Japanese fare" by Chef Sho and Marissa Churchill alone still merits a visit. [SFW]

The Merc's Aleta Watson makes a rare excursion into San Francisco to bestow a handsome 3.5 stars upon Mark Sullivan and Spruce. After braving the reservations battle, she discovers that the real find at Spruce is the bar menu: "Starting dinner at 5:30 p.m. was a bit disconcerting. For nearly an hour, my companion and I had one corner of the dining room all to ourselves as the tables slowly filled up. Our friendly server was almost excessively attentive, sometimes checking on our satisfaction with a course before we had tasted the first bite ... As appealing as those dishes are, they face stiff competition from the bar menu. The burger and fries ($13) that my companion ordered at a later lunch were exemplary. The patty of lean ground beef, nestled in a house-made English muffin, was juicy and flavorful, expertly grilled to medium rare. The fries were amazing, golden brown, crisp on the edges and almost melting at the center." [SJMN]

Piqueo's in Bernal Heights is the apple of Paul Reidinger's eye this week, and then things get saucy: "Altamirano describes the menu at Piqueo's as 'contemporary' Peruvian cuisine — 'traditional' Peruvian, 'with a California twist' ... The description is fair enough in that vague, diplomats-having-frank-discussions way, but it does not begin to capture the wonder of the sauces, which, in their variety, sophistication, and vividness, are so good we actually requested glasses to drink them from, once we'd run out of sopping and soaking material. If you associate sauces with a certain sort of snooty French cooking, you will find revelation at Piqueo's." [SFBG]

The title says it all in the Guardian's other review this week, filed in from Velvet Cantina by Colleen McCaffrey: "Our reservation was late, the table was still dirty when we sat down, utensils never showed until after our food, the margarita was more Rita than tequila, and the chile rellenos were not ... while many palates might want to boycott most of the cuisine, the asada and nachos are enough to keep you sane." [SFBG]

ELSEWHERE: Michael Bauer's Sunday review dropped an unwieldy 1.5 stars on Burlingame's Ristorante Brio, Miriam Morgan does a Southeast Asian doubleshot at Three Seasons and Sirayvah, Albany's Sushi Solano is good for two Chron stars, the Mij finds sushi in downtown San Rafael at Umi, and Half Moon Bay's Cetrella fails to impress Metro.

Spruce

3640 Sacramento Street, , CA 94118 (415) 931-5100 Visit Website

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