For his Thursday showcase, The Great Bauerino heads up to Etoile, Domaine Chandon's long-standing restaurant that recently nabbed a shiny Michelin star under its new 25-year-old chef Perry Hoffman. Quick background: in the last decade or so, Etoile has risen steadily, from two stars in the late '90s to the tres in '04. Today, it earns yet another upgrade to the next plateau:
Hoffman's name isn't even mentioned on the restaurant's Web site - a true oversight because he's responsible for taking the food to a new level ... [Desserts] are appropriately sweet endings to a beautifully conceived and executed meal, presided over by precise but friendly service that ranks among the best in the Bay Area.Do we hear a rising star nod in the works? In the end, it's a 3.5-star sweep in the ratings department, along with special plea that locals shouldn't leave the "breathtaking setting" to the tourists. [Chron]
Matthew Stafford is the first newspaper critic to pass through SoMa's new Ironside, and he's got a positive take: "It's a familiar setup, but executive chef Bob Cina and owners Jon D'Angelica and Chris and Ryan Vance of District wine bar have introduced a wrinkle to the formula ... Matched with the right pizza, some stewed octopus, and a bowl of mac 'n' cheese, this is a handsome place to pass the time of day." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger hits up a neighborhood hangout too, in Noe Valley's Noeteca: "... despite the Italian-ish name, Noeteca's nearest relations are probably the wonderful cafes of Paris, those nameless but indispensable places where you can get an espresso early in the morning, a glass of wine late at night, and good food at any time." [SFBG]
The Sunday review took the microscope to Rick Hackett's Bocanova in Jack London Square. Even though MB has a "good" meal in a picturesque setting, service struggles and seasoning is scattershot: "And often you'll initially be brought the wrong dish because the serving system is disorganized ... Seasonings are all over the board; at times the balance good and on other occasions it feels as if the kitchen is just cranking them out and doesn't properly look after every dish." End result: the deuce. [Chron]
THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX stops by Oakland's Chop Bar and deems it "one of the cooler establishments you'll find in the greater Bay Area," No Salad has lots of pretty pictures from Aziza, the MIJ pops into the Headlands Center, Metroactive goes to Mountain View's flashy Sakoon, Bar Bites is at Oakland's Sidebar and former NBA beat writer Janny Hu files the Bargain Bites bit at Turtle Tower.