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Week in Reviews: Adagia Demoted to the Lowly 1.5

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Harry Potter references in tow and everything, this week's edition of the Bauer Show takes on Berkeley's Adagia, and the update for the three-year-old restaurant is not pretty. Boom goes the Bauer:

The restaurant makes a point of using organic and sustainable products, which is just about de rigueur for any Bay Area restaurant these days. However, the food is more suggestive of a first-year culinary student who tackles an ambitious project without the experience to pull it off.

The service is also awkward, as if the staff might be moonlighting from their day jobs in the Student Union.

But wait, there's more ouch:
Main courses on my Update visit included a stuffed chicken breast ($20) with a filling so dense and rubbery I'm not sure what it was, although the green hue indicated it might have included basil. It was served with eight small round fritters that tasted like cold fried bread and a white wine sauce that congealed before my eyes.
And don't forget about dessert:
The affogato, which is usually served in a coffee cup, was presented more like a dorm-room sundae. Two scoops of ice cream were placed in what looked like a cereal bowl, with a drizzle of chocolate sauce and a lukewarm shot of espresso left for the diner to pour.
Even though Adagia has lots of qualities that Bauer usually loves (rustic, local, etc.) and despite the encouraging 2.5-star review in '05, the update visit yields a paltry 1.5 stars for the new regime. [Chron]

A few weeks after a negative Chron review, MarketBar gets its turn in the Guardian, and though Paul Reidinger finds more hits than misses on the menu, it's the patio and prix-fixe that win him over: "Many of [San Francisco's] al fresco efforts are impromptu: a few flimsy tables and chairs teetering at the brink of the curb. MarketBar, by contrast, is built around, and seems to exist for, its patio. ... Rick Hackett's regular menu, a Mediterranean-inflected mélange, is chockablock with temptation: lively dishes at competitive prices." [SFBG]

Following a roll call of eclectic dining destinations, Ms. Meredith shares some thoughts on the glory of the outdoor area at Absinthe's lil' sis Arlequin Cafe: "But don't let the simplicity of the setting fool you into thinking that the food here isn't serious ... The cafe's menu is colorfully chalked on wall boards, and the food it offers is as carefully put together, albeit less fancy, than Absinthe's. The quality of the ingredients matches the care of construction." [SFBG]

THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX hits pho at the newly-trendy Vo's Restaurant in Oakland; The MIJ enjoys revisiting Sorella Cafe, Fairfax's five-year-old "rustic dinner house"; Daily Feedists try the new Limon Rotisserie; Beer & Nosh is at Dynamo; The PUnter went to Mission Beach Cafe last week; and lest we forget, Bauer's Sunday review was a soulful 2.5-star outing at Berkeley's Corso Trattoria.

[Photo: Yelp/Michael B]

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