The Great Bauerino makes a return visit to Ducca, the slick SoMa hotel restaurant where Richard Corbo was last seen racking up a tidy tres back in 2007. Nowadays, Corbo is over in Oakland working on his Zanna Bianca project, and Lark Creek Inn alum Erica Holland-Toll running the kitchen at Ducca. So how's it going? Take it away, M-Beezy:
... the quality remains high, although the soulful Italian food I remember has become more Americanized. That's not a bad thing, simply different ... While the food may not be as interesting as it was before, it's well prepared and prices are reasonable for the quality.For the most part, it's an encouraging take on the new version of Ducca, with notable highlights including the desserts and the ambiance. Its primary shortcomings lie in the service arena, where the staffers have become "lethargic" and "rote" (such fancy words for so early in the morning!). Overall, though he knocks the rating down a peg to 2.5 stars, MB declares Ducca "definitely deserving of a second look." [Chron]
Though she bemoans the lack of booze, Meredith Brody finds a cheap Moroccan gem in Polk Street's 30-seat Aicha. The decor is perfectly fine, nothing special, and neither are the starters. But then: "It's with the main courses that Aicha really shines. Everything was good, and a few dishes were amazingly delicious." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger shares his take on the reborn version of Metro Cafe on Divisadero. This time around, the food isn't as blatantly French, but at least the price is right: "... the look of the dining room remains the same ... There are points of similarity, yes, mainly in the emphasis on a three-course prix-fixe menu. At $25, it's quite a bit more than in the good old days (on the order of $10 more), but what isn't? It's still a good deal, especially when you consider that you can have any starter, main dish, and dessert." [SFBG]
Matthew Stafford is the first major critic to file on Oakland's Lake Chalet, where it's all about the vista: "The result: an enchanting, convivial dining destination where you can take in the swell and the sailboats over a beaker of suds and a platter of kumamotos while the grill sizzles, the ice tinkles, and the moon rises over the water. And if the food doesn't always live up to the vistas and the rustic-moderne setting, it's a pleasant enough accent to the chalet's more aesthetic attractions." [EBX]
THE ELSEWHERE: The PressDem happily hands out 3.5 stars to the fire-surviving version of Mustards Grill, the MIJ's Tanya Henry isn't a fan of Novato's newish Portelli Rossi, the Merc gets wowed at Wow Noodle House, Carey Sweet has a bite at a bar at Sonoma's Carneros Bistro, Bargain Bite does Oakland's Old Weang Ping Village, and last but not least, the Sunday review handed out 2.5 stars to Mountain View's sparkly Indian restaurant Sakoon.