The Bauer Hour has been handing out the three-star stamp like leftover Halloween candy lately, and today he hands out another tres to Sonoma gem Scopa. He first reviewed Healdsburg's tiny 36-seater last year, when he gave it 2.5 stars, and upon reinspection, the restaurant has improved since first opening:
The restaurant was very good when I initially reviewed it more than a year ago, but since then Ari Rosen has taken the food to a new level ... Rosen has also perfected the pizza, which was mediocre when I reviewed the restaurant last year ... While many items on the menu can be found elsewhere in the Bay Area, few restaurants do it better.The restaurant's atmosphere only notches a pair of stars, mostly because it has very little, but it's a three-star affair the rest of the way, with MB proclaiming Scopa "one of the finest casual-dining experiences in the Sonoma Wine Country." [Chron]
At the Brody-less Weekly, Matthew Stafford takes a crack at Saison, Josh Skenes' very impressive pop-up restaurant in the Mission: "At Saison, Joshua Skenes' celebration of 21st-century haute cuisine, the whole notion of fine dining is upended ... Foams, gelées, butters, and emulsions are employed to underscore and showcase the Bay Area's freshest protein and produce. But while the food is as meticulously crafted as at any haute-cuisine sanctorium, the mood is looser, the appointments more rustic, the stipend slightly slimmer. Call it dot-com plush for the recession generation." [SFW]
The PressDem's Jeff Cox doles out three stars of his own to Sebastopol's new BBQ darling, Larry Vitos Barbecue Smokehouse Catering: "Larry Vito’s Texas-made, four-ton, steel-and-iron barbecue pit — the size of a small truck — sits on a trailer rig beside piles of oak and apple hardwoods behind his Barbecue Smokehouse Catering restaurant in Sebastopol ... The meats that pass through this device emerge, for want of a better word, scrumptiddlyicious." [PD]
The Sunday edition of The Bauer had three stars for Glen Park pizzeria favorite Gialina. MB affirms that Gialina has been his favorite pizza in the Bay Area for the last two years, and owner Sharon Ardiana turns out "real, honest food." [Chron]
THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX tells Fremont why it's fat with a visit to something amazingly called The Deep-Fried Twinkie & Pastrami Shop, the MIJ's Tanya Henry finds atypical Mexican fare at Mill Valley's Antigua Mexican Grill, the CoCo Times checks out the Oakland branch of Burma Superstar, Bar Bites visits Cindy Pawlcyn's Go Fish, and last but certainly not least, Amanda Gold has herself a bargain of a bite at the Tendernob's Bite.