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Week in Reviews: Oliveto Demoted From 3.5 to a Mere Two

For the Update review today, the MichaelCycle returns to a biggie in Oliveto. First, some crucial background: Oliveto hasn't been formally reviewed since 1996, when MB handed out an incredibly-glowing 3.5 stars (and four for food) to then-chef Paul Bertolli, along with the proclamation that it was "the best Italian food in the Bay Area." Then this April, Oliveto was ceremoniously dropped from the Top 100 despite its star status at the time, leading to the inevitable conclusion that the Italian trailblazer had slipped tremendously. Now, several months and two visits later, the hammer drops:

As much as I've admired what chef Paul Canales has done, however, my last two visits to Oliveto have been disappointing. It could be that others have caught up and that Oliveto has slipped...After spending nearly $200 for a meal for two, I felt it was overpriced. If the food was as good as it once was, then the tab is justified, but when it slips, even a little, it seems too expensive.
Between the "tepid" rabbit, "mushy" fish and "sodden" salad, MB shows Oliveto no mercy. In the end, he nearly chops the overall rating in half, dropping it all the way down to two stars. Boom goes the Bauer. [Chron]

Meredith Brody takes her turn at Wexler's and like her predecessors, gives the new version of BBQ her stamp of approval: "The one-page dinner menu bristles with "BBQ" and "smoked" in its descriptions, at times appended to surprising and uncommon dishes ... [Charlie] Kleinman and [Matt] Wexler are intelligently and passionately rethinking down-home food with respect and serving the results in a uptown setting." [SFW]

Paul Reidinger is the first to file on Weird Fish spinoff The Corner, where everyday food is prepared quite well: "The food is the sort you could eat every day, an assortment of Cal-Ital dishes prepared with a light touch. Restaurant food can be debilitating — too many calories, too much attention-seeking — so to find a restaurant whose cooking navigates the tricky passage between humble or indifferent on the one hand and grandiose on the other is a gift." [SFBG]

Mandy Erickson takes the secondary review in the Datebook today, handing out a more standard two stars to Mountain View's kosher restaurant, Kitchen Table. It's a perfectly OK place, and hey, there's a multi-cultural background too: "While many menu items hail from Italian, Spanish and Middle Eastern traditions, the Kitchen Table offers a handful of Eastern European Jewish favorites." [Chron]

THE ELSEWHERE: The MIJ's Tanya Henry unearths a suprisingly-decent Stinson Beach option in Surfers Grill, both Bunrab and FoodGal file on Martins West in Redwood City, the PressDem finds a great tequila party going on at Santa Rosa's Casa del Mara, the CoCo Times reviews Kensington's Post Meridian, No Salad is at Contigo, Bargain Bites does Little Skillet, Bar Bites is at Oakland's Ozumo, and finally, the Sunday Chron review had a deuce for the Peninsula's Donato Enoteca.