Lots of recent reviews to catch up on this morning. Up first, Mikey Two Stars came out to play over the long weekend, handing out a pair to District's beer-infused spinoff Ironside. After M-Biggity gets unexpectedly tipsy off the 9.25% beer (partytime!), he discovers a slightly-uneven menu, but does share his zoology-minded advice for navigating it:
Quirkiness reveals itself at dinner, where the menu offers everything from stewed baby octopus ($9) to baked macaroni and cheese ($9). In between there's tempura-fried avocado ($5) ... I'd avoid anything that swims, and instead stick to four-legged and feathered friends.In between some witty zingers about the "cardboard" pizza, Mr. Bauer does find several winning dishes—most notably the burger and the game hen—In the end, the dessert menu is very strong and leave a good enough taste to warrant two stars overall for the SoMa hangout. [Chron]
Flying in slightly under the radar on Thanksgiving day was Bauer's Thursday offering, wherein he revisited Eliza's, the Chinese restaurant that had previously earned three stars for food way back in 2000. Nowadays, things have changed: "Some dishes lack the freshness and excitement that was the restaurant's hallmark when it opened ... It's OK if you're in the neighborhood, but probably not worth the drive across town." Final grade: two stars. [Chron]
Cal Foster filed the Weekly review last week, hitting up the Castro's newish Mexican joint, Chilango, which is more than your average taqueria: "In stressing flavor over flash, Cruz and Juarez have taken Mexican food to the next level without stripping it of its soul. They've given street food dining-room respectability, putting it on modern china, but without gussying up the food itself." [SFW]
Patricia Unterman pens an appreciation for Olea, the charming little eatery quietly nestled on the corner of California and Larkin: "[Chef/co-owner Gabriel Amaya] cooks a handful of dishes from his finds at the farmers market. He carts them back to a restaurant that is as personal and cozy as home ... the secret Olea delivers a quintessential San Francisco experience." [SFE]
THE ELSEWHERE: Paul Reidinger stops by Noodle Theory, the MIJ's Tanya Henry finds serenity now at San Rafael's four-month-old Savory Orient, the EBX goes to Berkeley's biggest restaurant in Crossroads, the CoCo Times is at Lemongrass Bistro out in Martinez, Bar Bites is at Pican while Bargain Bites does Berkeley's GeckoGecko, and lastly, Mandy Erickson hands out 2.5 stars to Burlingame's Sakae.