Photo courtesy: RNM Restaurant
Baueriffic revisits RNM, about six years after Justine Miner first began to shake things up in the Lower Haight. Even though Miner has abandoned the kitchen, MB—always a fan of neighborhood joints—still likes what he sees:
When it opened in 2002, the restaurant, which blends bar culture, neighborhood gathering place and fine dining, was cutting edge. That combination is now more common, but RNM remains the blueprint for pulling it off successfully...The end result: RNM keeps its 2.5 stars from '02. And don't sleep on the $28 prix fixe menu; Bauer likes the special because it's a treat for the regulars, but it's "only one of the ways RNM keeps customers coming back." [Chron]
The menu, under chef Justine Miner, who didn't appear to be cooking on either of my visits, bridges the divide between the two restaurant cultures. You can get some really good mini-burgers (two for $14, and not much smaller than a regular hamburger) with crisp thick-cut fries, or an elegant pan-roasted halibut ($23) with ricotta gnocchi, asparagus, morel mushrooms and mache, seasoned with a Meyer lemon vinaigrette.
Carol Ness has another 2.5 Chron stars for Oakland's Bellanico, which is good, but not quite good enough for the Bauer treatment: " The couple brought in a concept that's worked for them at Aperto, the restaurant they've run on San Francisco's Potrero Hill for 16 years. Having a larger space in Oakland allowed them to build the bar and expand their wine offerings and offer half-glasses and flights ... conversation becomes tough when the place fills up. That happens often, I imagine, because the restaurant is doing what any neighborhood wants: very good food at prices that make you want to eat there often." [Chron]
Ms. Meredith takes a pause from her street food exploits to play pasta-loving tourist at Panta Rei. At the end of her meal, Brody politely shares a euphemism for "this place kinda sucks": "I didn't feel that the punters now filling every table at Panta Rei were to be pitied, exactly, but I had no plans to add it to my shortlist of the best places to eat in North Beach." [SFW]
At the Guardian, Paul Reidinger waxes poetic about the glory of Chevy's in his visit to Tres Agaves: "But if, like me, you have a vestigial fondness for Chevy's, Tres Agaves will seem pleasantly familiar. The sense of déjà vu makes itself felt early, once you're through the front door and past the host's station, which is screened from the rest of the immense dining room by a half-wall that reminded me of an oversized ant farm ... Much of the food is exactly what you would expect to find in this kind of setting — guacamole ($8), for instance, served in a pestle-like bowl and notable not only for its price but for a freshness that goes a long way toward justifying it." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX does cheap eats at Berkeley's Tandor Kitchen, 7x7's Sara Deseran goes to Meadowood, The MIJ is at Novato's new Hilltop Cafe, the bloggin' Bunrabs venture to the Dogpatch for the New Spot, La Hopstress enjoys the menu at Epic Roasthouse, and Bauer's Sunday review doled out 2.5 stars to SoMa fishshop Anchor & Hope.