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Week in Reviews: Scala's Bistro Stays at 2.5

Mikey Boom Boom revisits the venerable Scala's Bistro, now under the helm of Coco500 vet and Top Chef alum Jen Biesty. Despite the new blood, Mr. MB doesn't find much difference from the classic restaurant's days of yore:

Biesty may have sizzle on camera, but her menu looks like standard greatest hits ... Part of the problem may be that it's hard for a new chef to make a dramatic imprint when regular customers demand what's always been on the menu.

Unfortunately, on my Update visit the execution of some dishes wasn't so great. Our meal started with a terrine ($12.50) and Caesar salad ($10.50), which were satisfying but not distinguished.

Though both the food and service leaves something to be desired (both merit just two Bauer stars on their own), the four-star atmosphere of the Union Square staple saves the day and keeps the rating above the Mendoza line: "Scala's remains a prime Union Square destination because it feels good to be there." So, in the end, Scala's stays at 2.5 stars. [Chron]

Riding shotgun in the Chron this week is Carey Sweet, who has a deuce for Marin's dubiously-named Cha Cha Cha spinoff, Whipper Snapper: "[Whipper Snapper] features a lively decor, but the food doesn't always keep pace ... For all the disappointments, there's potential. The servers are polite and efficient. The decor is a knockout. I'll look forward to that being matched by the food." [Chron]

Paul Reidinger enjoys the hipster-watching and the Paris vibe at Bar Jules: "If your idea of fun is to sit at a Parisian-snug bistro table, a mere elbow's throw from tablesful of 30-ish wine hipsters ...then you will love Bar Jules ... The cooking speaks largely in a Mediterranean vernacular; it's peasant food that's donned its Sunday best for church. But because this is California, other influences make themselves felt as well, and the restaurant quietly but firmly pursues a commitment to local and organic foodstuffs." [SFBG]

Miss Meredith has the week off, so Matthew Stafford takes the Weekly review to Bossa Nova, just in time for Carnaval: "But at its quieter moments, say before eight on a Sunday evening, there's live bossa nova to stroke the senses and complement a menu of largely authentic and delectable Brazilian specialties. ... Given the dearth of Brazilian restaurants in the greater Bay Area, it's surprising how well Bossa Nova's food lives up to its decor." [SFW]

THE BLOGS & THE ELSEWHERE: The PressDem had high praise for Michael Chiarello's Bottega earlier this week, The EBX finds kimchi and more at Albany's Shik Do Rock, The MIJ does pho at Corte Madera's La Maison de la Reine, No Salad gets artsy at Bar Tartine, the Guardian's blog takes Laiola for a spin, and finally, the week's biggest review was the Sunday Bauer review, which had 2.5 stars for Dosa on Fillmore.

Bar Jules

609 Hayes Street, San Francisco, CA 94199 415 621 5482 Visit Website