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Week in Reviews: Coi Joins the Chronicle Four Star Club

It's a monumental day on the review circuit, as the Power of Bauer initiates an eighth member into the holy realm of Bay Area four-star restaurants. Welcome to Olympus, Daniel Patterson:

Few chefs have such a meticulous focus on both product and technique. Unlike many chef-owners, it is rare to see Patterson chatting in the dining room; he prefers to stay in the background and let the food speak in his stead. And his subtle, intricate and cerebral food speaks volumes.

Patterson serves a nightly 11-course fixed price tasting menu ($120), with some choices, and each dish is crafted like a fine piece of jewelry. He'll use cutting-edge techniques but, much like Alice Waters, he is fanatically dedicated to ingredients; the techniques merely bolster the inherent qualities he finds in the food...With each venue he's added more depth to his cooking. Plus, two recent revisits to Coi have shown that his approach has continued to morph into a style that is not only highly individual, but could only happen in the Bay Area. I can't think of a single restaurant that has such a unique sense of place.

Unlike the controversy of the last four-star review, Coi's fourth star was a long time coming and pretty hard to argue with. Bonus seasonal note: Bauer declares the "galaxy of cherry tomatoes suspended in a gelatinous tomato water" the best tomato dish he's ever eaten, and we're thinking the man has indulged in his fair share of tomatoes. [Chron]

The other Chronicle review has two stars for downtown Novato's newly-overhauled Portelli Rossi, which is not an actress: "For its stumbles, the transformation appears to be what the neighborhood wants. Portelli Rossi means red door in Italian. But no translation is needed for the universal sign of pleasure I see every time I visit: the happy head nod of diners as they chew." [Chron]

From Clement Street, Paul Reidinger can't quite give a solid "A" to Burma Superstar's upscale spinoff, B Star: "... it must be difficult to be the offspring of a restaurant that uses 'superstar' for part of its name. Expectations are bound to be stoked ... And B Star does have glints of something special: the best dishes are memorable, the look is appealing, and the staff is as young and energetic as the crowd. A B is good, but give us an A!" [SFBG]

Meredith Brody wanders deep into the Mission to go old school at 40-year-old Palace Steak House: "[Steaks] taste beefy, and there's some flavor picked up from the grill, but they're definitely not the long-aged marbled prime meat that you can find only at a steakhouse or a superior butcher ... The surprise hit is the fried fish sandwich, complete with potatoes and salad, and a cup of tartar sauce on the side. Too good to be true? The low prices are totally true, and the food is good enough, depending on your definition of what 'good' is, to paraphrase a president." [SFW]

THE ELSEWHERE and THE BLOGS: The EBX tries Telegraph's new wine bar Marc 49, the Merc's Aleta Watson is at Palo Alto's MacArthur Park, the MIJ declares Murray Circle the best restaurant in Marin, Single Dude does good at Mission Pie, Marcia sings the praises of Pizzeria Delfina, NoSAM likes Town Hall, Grumpy finds redeeming qualities at MoMo's, and finally, Bauer's Sunday review had a deuce for Joey & Eddie's.

[Photo courtesy]


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