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Venerable Buckeye Roadhouse Downgraded to 2.5 Stars

Soft lens photo: Buckeye

For his Thursday showcase, The iBauer revisits Marin's old-school Buckeye Roadhouse. Long a staple of the Top 100, Buckeye last received a formal review to the tune of three stars back in 2000; a decade later, things have slipped for the roadside destination, putting its inclusion in the annual list in doubt:

Unfortunately, a recent visit to Buckeye showed the beginning of that dreaded complacency. Many dishes were still very good, but the kitchen seems to have let down its guard ... I found the beginnings of lethargy sneaking into the service, with waiters who are more abrupt and harried than I remember.
Though Roadhouse still does much well—namely steaks and desserts—the review features a number of fireworks that don't bode well. Salads are "sloppily dressed," liver has a "tough, stringy sinew," spinach includes "rancid-tasting garlic," and a waiter pour water on the dinner plate. Though food and service both notch only a deuce each, the overall rating is knocked down only to 2.5 stars. [Chron]

Jonathan Kauffman is the first to file on Baker & Banker, the Pac Heights spot that moved into the old Quince space: "Baker and Banker seems to be designed as a weekday restaurant for people who think nothing of a $45 dinner when they're too tired to cook, and a destination for those of us in middle management and below. In short, it's perfect for the neighborhood. And Banker, in particular, knows his target audience." [SFW]

In this month's San Francisco Magazine, Josh Sens chimes in on the new version of Quince. The best line of the review comes in a description of the dining room—"dapper enough to stand up to Willie Brown"—but as for the total package, Sens isn't quite as enamored as his fellow critics: "The result is a highly ambitious restaurant, nearly doubled in size and quintupled in its effort to be all things to everyone. It is, by any measure, an impressive effort. Whether it’s worthy of the buildup—or the buildout—is another question, and I’d say 'not quite' to anyone who asked." [SFM]

Paul Reidinger finds a quietly confident restaurant in the five-year-old The Richmond: "For me, the difference between good and great so often turns on grace notes and little touches, like fine, almost invisible brush strokes on a painting. Even the best neighborhood restaurants don't typically offer amuses-bouches, but the Richmond does ... [Chef John] Owyang's kitchen is clever but doesn't wallow in cleverness." [SFBG]

The SJ Merc makes another trip up to San Francisco to rave about Flour + Water: "But drill down even farther into its details, and you'll start to see how both the food and the people cooking and serving it with such passion are almost intertwined with the bones of the building itself .. Even though the wood-fired pie from their 800-degree oven is unfortunately a bit waffly underneath this evening, it still beats any slice between Pizzaiolo across the bay and Pizzetta 211 out in the avenues." [Merc]

THE ELSEWHERE: The MIJ's Tanya Henry gives her stamp of approval to the new chef at Sausalito's Piccolo Teatro, the EBX finds healthy fast food at Nature's Express in Berkeley, the PressDem is at Lita's Cafe in Santa Rosa, Bargain Bites stops by Ocean Taqueria on Divis, and last but certainly not least, Janny Hu goes to Nombe for Bar Bites.

Baker & Banker

1701 Octavia Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 (415) 351-2500 Visit Website

Flour + Water

2401 Harrison Street, , CA 94110 (415) 826-7000 Visit Website

Buckeye Roadhouse

15 Shoreline Highway, Mill Valley, CA