After a rare 1.5-star demotion of Berkeley's Adagia last Wednesday, The Bauer continued his week-long reign of terror with an even rarer one star review of Napa's newly-renovated 25° Brix. Now, MB very rarely resorts to any reviews less than a deuce (let alone a lonely star), mostly because if a restaurant is really that bad, he simply won't review it. In fact, the Chronicle archives show only 26 one-star reviews in the database, and if our count is correct, only a few were by Bauer himself: Little Thai in 2003, Daily Grill in 2002 and most notably, Kuleto's in 2006.
In other words, let's savor this special occasion; to the carnage we go.
On expectations: "I was shocked by the meal, because I expected much more ... In the end there wasn't a single dish I could wholly recommend."
On textures: "The corn soup had a pleasant flavor, with strong undercurrents of smoked bacon and basil oil, but had a curdled texture and rock shrimp fritters that were cold, greasy lumps."
On service: "Service on subsequent visits was mixed. We once had to ask for something three times, and then were brought the wrong dish."
On value: "The other choices were uninspired or poorly executed, especially considering the pedigree in the kitchen and the prices of the food: More than half the main courses are $28 and above."
On textures, continued: "Mussels ($11) served in an egg-shaped cast-iron pot were so overcooked they had more in common with a rubber ball than something pulled fresh from the sea, and the chorizo contributed an orange slick ... the tomato risotto ($22) was gooey and starchy, and competed with the ratatouille on the first visit as one of the worst examples of a classic ... The swordfish ($28) was pink and gummy in the center."
On urges: "... by the end I wanted to get up and apologize to the couple [from Iowa], saying, 'There really are some great restaurants in Napa Valley. I'm sorry you've found yourself in this one.'"
Conclusion: "It's such a shame."
Unmentioned: Symbols are rarely a good idea in restaurant names.
· See the view but skip the food at 25° Brix [Chron]