Jennifer Yin, 10/14/08
The Chron may be review-less this week, but we've got plenty of action elsewhere on the review circuit. Leading off today, let's turn to SF Mag's Josh Sens, who finally chimes in on the Embarcadero's latest waterfront extravaganza, Gaston Acurio's La Mar Cebicheria
In its size, themed aesthetics, and waterfront location, it calls to mind another celebrity comparison for Acurio: the Peruvian Pat Kuleto...Like others, Sens declares the ceviche the definite winner of the expansive menu, which he describes as "not a primer but a sprawling survey course in Peruvian cooking." To be sure, La Mar has some aspects that can be construed as issues—c.f. "amiable mayhem", "barely controlled chaos"—and Sens doesn't mention any of the misses, but in the end, it's a fairly positive two stars. [SFM]
La Mar is one of those chosen restaurants—a destination of the moment whose moment may go on and on. It has a lot to recommend it: winning cocktails, superb ceviche, and orange-glazed beignets with passion-fruit ice cream, the one surefire hit on a list of too-sweet sweets. It’s a corporate restaurant, but it shields you from that truth by offering a strong perspective and a lively sense of place.
Speaking of Peruvian, Ms. Meredith Brody files her weekly review from Limon Rotisserie, which is the kind of restaurant made for times like these: "Limon Rotisserie's one-page printed menu looked to be recession-proof. Nothing on it cost more than $10, except the whole rotisserie chicken for $15.95 ... There are other good dishes on the menu, many of them also available at chef Martin Castillo's much fancier and pricier Limón restaurant on Valencia,." Of course, Limon's Valencia location has been closed since June, but no matter. Brody does, however, hit the nail on the head with regards to 2009: "...lots of people would be getting out of there after paying checks lower than $10 or $15. That's a modern definition of comfort food." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger returns to an oldie but goodie at Zuppa: "Zuppa is, in fact, a rather marvelous Italian restaurant of the sort you'd think the city of St. Francis would be full of. It's earthy and glossy, medieval and modern, intimate and buzzing, all at the same time ... Zuppa's kitchen, like the others in the Manzare consortium, tilts in favor of organic ingredients and humanely produced meats — both worthy goals, but we have heard plenty about the former and, possibly, not quite enough about the latter." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE & THE BLOGS: The Bunrabs give lunch at Murray Circle a try, the SF Restaurant Examiner uncovers hidden Radio Africa gems at Coffee Bar, No Salad has some great photos from Zuni Cafe, The EBX finds Cuban at Alamedia's Havana, Mapplr follows up Burma Superstar with a trip to B Star Bar, La Hopper is at That Pizza Place on Noriega, another regular tries vehemently to defend Bistro Jeanty, the CoCo Times is at Lafayette's new Knoxx Restaurant, and last but certainly not least, SFist has a rather brilliant review of Orson.