Ms. Meredith Brody goes high-profile this week and stops by Pat Kuleto's Waterbar. In addition to sharing similar observations/criticisms seen elsewhere—high price points, nice vistas, giant aquariums, etc—Brody also gets seated in that same, crappy rear dining room that Bauer dissed in his own review last week:
There's another, less spectacular room tucked behind the main dining room, and sure enough, that's where we're led, past the enormous, brightly lit stainless-steel-and-white bustling open kitchen. Here the ceiling is low and the decor seems an afterthought — a few kitschy realistic fish sculptures swim up a brick wall ...As for the food itself, Brody isn't enamored by any means, describing the ceviche as "alarmingly minuscule" and summing up the entire experience pretty well in saying, "This is good food, but not dazzling enough for our expectations" (read: wallets). And a memo to Kuleto: you might want to do something about that back room. [SFW]
The room had become increasingly, painfully noisy during the meal. As we left, we discovered the true appeal of the main dining room, besides its glamorous deep booths and striking aquariums: You could actually conduct a conversation here. True luxury! We realized we were in a noisy Siberia only at the very end of the evening.
Paul Reidinger takes to a new Mission favorite in Lolo, the tiny Turkish-Mexican restaurant that's winning hearts off Valencia: "This is the Mission the way it ought to be: sophisticated but playful and even a little silly, with whimsical improvisation more important than money and all the overdesigning money can buy. A further point of interest is that Loló serves a kind of hybrid cuisine (I decline to describe it as "fusion") that adds Turkish flourishes and grace notes to what is basically a pan-Latin or nuevo Latino menu. The marriage might be an arranged one, but it reflects the realities of the restaurant's ownership (the principals are Merdol Erkal and Jorge Martinez) as well as a surprising harmonic convergence between cuisines and cultures that would appear largely unrelated." [SFBG]
The lone Chron review of the Wednesday food section is by Carol Ness, who has a fairly strong yet nervous 2.5 stars for Telegraph Avenue's Maritime East: " Its focus - seafood - is trendy (at least until the seas are fished out); down on San Pablo Avenue, Sea Salt has proven a hit with its lobster rolls and seafood platters in a West Berkeley location that's recently taken off. And Maritime East has a wood-burning oven, the better to bake perfect little pizzas and to give whole fish and crab a smoky edge. So it's a mystery to me why more people haven't found their way there ... Maritime East is the kind of comfortable place that should be embraced by its neighborhood. And the food is good. But that was true of Zax Tavern, and Mazzini (most of the time) before it. This is a tough stretch of Berkeley for restaurants" [Chron]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Bauer's weekend review was at Santa Rosa's Stark's, Aleta Watson is at Au Midi down in Aptos, Not For Tourists goes for kimchi at Oakland's Sura, and the MIJ continues to review chains, this week: Pomodoro.
THE BLOGS: Team Bunrab takes an early look at Sausalito's Le Garage, the SR Press Dem's BiteClub is at Bluegrass, Slow Food does cheap wine at Maverick, SF-Lunch hits Lalita Thai and the Single Guy enjoys his time at Serpentine.