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Russian Hill's Luella Maintains Its 2.5 Stars

Today, Bauernormal Activity returns to Hyde Street to revisit another charming neighborhood restaurant in Luella. Last he checked in with the five-year-old joint in 2005, he handed out 2.5 stars, and things haven't changed much since then for chef-owner Ben de Vries:

Luella is one of the neighborhood gems that give depth and character to the San Francisco dining scene. De Vries' food is familiar but always artfully executed with personal flair ... it's a restaurant that doesn't draw attention to itself, but sets the right tone for its tony neighborhood.
The Bauer Hour loves himself a homey, inviting restaurant, and Luella's most famous dish—its Coca-Cola-braised pork shoulder—is homey on a plate. Toss in "warm, inviting and understated" service—even when the place gets busy (sidenote: MB twittered about his visit earlier this month)—and all in all, Luella gets 2.5 stars across the board. [Chron]

As mentioned earlier in the week, Josh Sens hits a biggie in this month's San Francisco Magazine with a visit to Commis. Sens finds a restaurant that is a refined spectacle to behold: "Nothing clanks or splatters. Such is the calm and grace behind the kitchen counter of the most compelling restaurant of the year... On any given evening, the chef’s imagination runs so freely that you realize he’s not riffing on tradition—he’s ranging into territory of his own." In the end, it adds up to a well-earned 3.5 stars for James Syhabout. [SFM]

Paul Reidinger takes a Mission hamburger double-dip at Mission Burger and Urbun Burger. His take on the Mission Burger: "... moistness and flavor are not issues ... As insurance, the briochy-looking bun is lined with jack cheese, spicy caper mayonnaise, and a slathering of caramelized onions. This combination isn't exactly coherent, but it is tasty." [SFBG]

Matthew Stafford has the Weekly review this week, and he kills three birds with one stone, taking a tour of the various Mission pop-ups and "handheld delights." Stafford also goes to Mission Burger, plus Rhea's Deli and Pal's Takeaway. His take on the Mission Burger: "The result is coarse, salty, dense, and chewy, pink on the inside and black on the outside — more like a reassembled steak than a traditional hamburger." [SFW]

THE ELSEWHERE: The MIJ's Tanya Henry is at Avatar's in Sausalito, the Merc goes to the Kinch-influenced Bonny Doon, the EBX finds homestyle Korean at Hayward's Sister's House, Bar Bites visits Santa Rosa's Front Room, Bargain Bites is at Geta in Oakland, the Sunday Bauer review had 2.5 stars for the Castro's Starbelly.


1896 Hyde St., San Francisco, CA