The Datebook is Bauerless on this fine Thursday, so let's get the ball rolling with Matthew Stafford today. The Weekly's fill-in critic is at the mirror-filled and very curious reborn edition of Mayes Oyster House in Polk Gulch. Since the new menu is all over the place, it's as inconsistent as expected, though there are some successful dishes to be found:
The menu, as noted, has pretty much left the deviled crab, oyster roast, and Hangtown Fry days behind. One exception is the Dungeness crab cocktail ($11), a disappointingly watery and tasteless desecration of our favorite crustacean served with an equally tame Louis dressing. Begin instead with the kamikaze oyster shooter (two for $5), mollusks bathed in sake and mirin, accented with tobiko and a pickled carrot ... you'll find the combination of sweet, puckery, and mildly briny positively refreshing.For the most part, hits and misses inundate the new version of Mayes. The cioppino ("distinctly tasty"), salmon carpaccio ("yummy"), scampi ("simple, satisfying") and Anthony's cookies are all worthy of praise, but on the other hand, missteps include the salmon and the Kobe-style steak. That said, overall, the review a very positive take on the food at a place that features a dancefloor. [SFW]
Mandy Erickson gets the honor of the Datebook review today, and she has a deuce for San Mateo tapas spot Dali: "Dali, which opened two months ago, offers a cultural experience that doesn't end with food ... Although diners can easily make a meal of tapas, the restaurant features hearty entrees. Paella ($20.95 for the omnivore version) serves two easily, and it's excellent ... The mid-Peninsula has few Spanish restaurants, tapas or otherwise, so Dali makes a nice addition." [Chron]
Paul Reidinger starts the new year at the Castro's charming non-taqueria Mexican eatery Chilango, which continues to get good press: "At Chilango, the remake of Azteca Taqueria near the corner of Church and Market, the tortillas are made of masa, and the masa is organic, and these small details tell us a great deal about the transformation of the kitchen ... [Chef Robert Aquiar Cruz] does eloquent justice to his subject cuisine and, by doing that, helps us more fully imagine what Mexican cooking can be. You will be hard-pressed to find more flavorful, colorful, healthful, and affordable food anywhere in town." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Bauer Sunday review handed out 2.5 stars to Charles Phan's OTD Bush, the EBX is at Oakland's unfortunately-named Iranian-Italian fusion restaurant I Squared, the MIJ files on the Fairfax spinoff of the Mission's Gestalt Haus, the PressDem has 2.5 stars for Healdsburg's A Divine Affair, Bar Bites is in Healdsburg too at Ravenous Cafe and Lounge, and finally, Bargain Bites has a bargain bite at Petaluma's Taps.