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Week in Reviews: Serpentine Demoted to the Deuce

Photo: Newman, 12/18/07

The Great Miguel revisits Serpentine, now under the helm of new chef Deepak Kaul. Previously, the Slow Club spinoff notched 2.5 stars upon opening in 2008, when Chris Kronner was running the kitchen. This time around, execution is lacking, and Bauer isn't so enthralled with all the complicated things on his plate:

I was nonplussed reading over Kaul's new menu because the combinations seemed discombobulated. Maybe it was that too many ingredients were listed and too many repeated ... Clearly, Kaul has talent, yet on such a compact menu more diversity and fewer ingredients would serve him well.
To be sure, the menu still boasts some winners (notably: the salmon, the duck), but it's not quite enough for the chic Serpentine to land on the right side of the Mendoza line. In the end, she gets knocked down to two stars. [Chron]

Carol Ness plays Boo Boo to Bauer's Yogi Bear in today's Datebook, handling the secondary review by doling out another two stars to the new Oakland location of Burma Superstar: "Still, you can't go wrong with the food here - the sweetness is kept in check and the spice can deliver (though you won't be sweating) ... Burma Superstar has become an instant hit in Temescal. It's entertaining, inexpensive and offers easy variety that makes you want to go back. Often." [Chron]

Matthew Stafford takes the microphone at the Weekly and just in case you haven't heard enough about the city's cornucopia of food carts, he reviews them. His take on Spencer on the Go, Chez Spencer's truck: "The food doesn't always live up to the hype, however. Although the lamb stew ($10) boasted lots of al dente carrots, ripe tomatoes, and a warm, pleasant field-of-lavender flavor, the meat itself was on the tough and chewy side." [SFW]

In this month's SF Mag, Josh Sens files on Oakland's flashy Pican. The prices may be steep, but with Dean Dupuis running the show, Pican brings the love: "Picán has perfect pitch. It’s a lively, lovely restaurant, infused with good vibes and a sense of inclusion. If it’s not a re-creation of what Oakland once was, it’s at least a sweet reflection of the neighborhood that Uptown aspires to be." [SFM]

THE ELSEWHERE: BiteClub shares early impressions from Sebastopol's high-profile Pizzavino 707, the EBX finds a casual Gallic cafe at Café Saint Honoré in Albany, the MIJ is at Novato's Anokha, Bar Bites goes to Gitane to encounter people "on the younger side, mostly south of 40," Bargain Bites is at Phat Philly in the Mission, and the Sunday Chron review had another two-spot for the new Bar Crudo.

Picán

2295 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612 510-834-1000

Burma Superstar Restaurant

309 Clement Street, San Francisco, CA 94118 415 387 2147

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