Say what you will about The Bauer, but the man knows how to identify winning dishes, and today's update leads him to the "stellar" pesto/foccaccia duo at Farina. When MB first laid eyes on the flashy Mission Ligurian joint back in 2007, he handed out 2.5 stars, and 20 months in, it's pretty clear how Farina has found its groove:
Two items stand above the rest of the menu: handkerchief pasta with pesto ($20) and focaccia di recco ($16). It doesn't mean that other offerings aren't good, but they're shadowed by these two dishes. As I looked around the other tables on a recent Update visit, just about every table had the pasta, including the table next to us.But it's more than the two stellar menu items; between the "loyal cadre of regulars," strong FOH presence, and the sleek interior design, Baueriffic clearly enjoys the bustling vibe of the place too, which "certainly does feel as if it could be in Italy." That said, even though the food rating gets bumped up a notch, Farina's overall grade remains the same: 2.5 stars. [Chron]
Paul Reidinger takes his turn at Noe Valley hotspot Contigo, and despite a bit of green overload, Reidinger thoroughly approves: "Contigo is as good-looking a new restaurant as I've visited in a long time. It manages to be modern, slick, and warm without growing sweaty from the effort, and it would probably look quite at home on a little street near the Sagrada Familia, in Barcelona's Eixample. Chef/owner Bret Emerson's Spanish-Catalán food would probably be a hit there, too, since the cooking honors both its traditional Iberian roots and our local ecological imperative." [SFBG]
The timing surrounding Meredith Brody's choice to review the decade-old Gary Danko is certainly curious, but hey, she enjoys herself: "Choosing your dinner from Danko's extensive and luxurious menu — lobster! Asparagus! Oysters! Caviar! Foie gras! And that's just the starters! — is a delightful chore ... $83 each seemed rather a bargain for the unhurried three hours and the marvelous meal we'd shared there." [SFW]
THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX's Matthew Stafford files on Oakland's B44 spinoff Barlata, the PressDem has 2.5 stars for Chloe’s French Cafe in Santa Rosa, the CoCo Times is at Pleasanton's "exotic" Oasis Grille and Wine Lounge, the MIJ uncovers above-average Chinese food at Young Can Wok, Jane Tunks enjoys the overhauled menu at North Beach's 15 Romolo, Bar Bites has bar bites at Cato's Ale House in Oakland, and the Sunday Chron review had three stars for Adesso.