Never one to shy away from a summer outing in Wine Country, Mikey Boom Boom gets into the downtown Napa act today, revisiting Main Street's seven-year-old brasserie Angele. He last reviewed it in 2006, when he gave it the 2.5-star treatment, but with new chef Aaron Meneghelli at the helm, things have slipped to the point of "workmanlike" euphemisms:
Meneghelli displayed a competent, workmanlike approach to the food, but the creations lacked some of the flourishes that would make them stand out ... And while the food wasn't memorable, the setting and service go a long way in making Angele a choice destination for those who want to explore downtown Napa.As suggested by the above, the restaurant is saved by a stunning boathouse setting (crucial Bauer counting details: "complete with a gaggle of 21 ducks that lazily paddle by"), and charming, competent service headed by owner Bettina Rouas. In the end, Angele manages just 1.5 stars for food, and gets downgraded to two stars overall. [Chron]
Meredith Brody files her weekly offering from Mint Plaza and its Sicilian newcomer 54 Mint. And look, no pizza! "More surprising than the fact that the address of 54 Mint is actually 16 Mint Plaza is that there's a new Italian restaurant in town that not only doesn't specialize in pizza — it doesn't even offer pizza. ... It's a lusty, uncompromising, boldly flavored style of cooking." [SFW]
Earlier in the week, Bauer's Sunday review was a biggie, as he opined on Wexler's, the FiDi newcomer from Charlie Kleinman and "model out of InStyle" Matt Wexler: "I know it's sacrilege to some, but in my mind this is the ultimate compliment to one of the most satisfying and primitive forms of cooking ... The chef nods to tradition, but the end result is pure and clean." Final grade: three stars. [Chron]
THE ELSEWHERE: The MIJ's Tanya Henry revisits a Mill Valley "destination spot" in Mountain Home Inn, the PressDem has three stars for Santa Rosa hotspot El Coqui, the EBX dedicates its review to Renee Gourmet, the CoCo Times is at Moraga's Asia Palace, Bargain Bites hits up Pal's Take Away in the Mission, Bar Bites does Americano, and on the national level, the monumental review of the week was the NYT's four-star coronation of Daniel Humm and Eleven Madison Park.
THE BLOGS: No Salad takes a pretty photo tour of RN74, the Bunrabs try the reinvented Metro Cafe, Eating/sf goes to The Corner, Single Guy does Southern BBQ at the new Looney's Smokehouse, and last but not least, the 7x7 ladies continue their burger bonanza at Luna Park.