"The food can tilt so far into stunt cooking that it stumbles, but Fox also produces complicated pleasures unlike anything else in town, and for a half to a third of the price of anything similar. It's experimental dining for Mission budgets."Other notable facts: "the noise level is shockingly low;" the service, "excellent." And the final "ratio of wild, weird successes to wild, weird failures seemed about 70:30." [SF Weekly]
Reidinger is also at a restaurant he thinks will be too loud, but isn't: Bar Agricole. "The madding crowd is never far away, yet the sound is muted just enough not to become the center of attention. It's like watching a big pot of simmering stock coming to a boil it never quite reaches. This kind of ambiance management is a subtle but real triumph." Moving on from interior design, "the chief impresario of the place, Thad Vogler, is a cocktail man, and the cocktail list is impressive...[and] Brandon Jew's cooking is also melodious and goes down easy." [SFBG]
100% USDA Prime Bauer is on a bit of a steakhouse kick, hitting up Alfred's Steakhouse for an update review in Today's Datebook. To begin with, it's clear that Bauer hasn't let go of the ghastly Morton's experience yet, as he makes several references to it here. He and partner Michael Murphy order up their usual Negroni and martini -- are you paying attention, soon-to-be-reviewed restaurants out there? -- and are pleased with the results. And the major takeaway follows: Steaks are superb, whether it's the rib-eye or the Tuscan T-bone alla fiorentina ($32.50)...Prices are excellent too, especially compared with those of other steakhouses...At Alfred's you're truly rewarded for "buying locally." It's a family-run business that's moving nicely into the next generation. And to top it off: you even get free validated parking at the nearby Hilton Hotel. The family-run San Francisco institution walks away with 2.5 stars overall. [Chron]
The Elsewhere: For the Thursday Datebook review, Carol Ness has two stars for the "California-farmers'-market" peasant fare at Paisan; The Merc finds authentic Persian cuisine at Alborz in Walnut Creek; the Metro SV has a run down of the best Silicon Valley happy hour spots; The Marin IJ tries the Sausalito outpost of Taste of the Himalayas; EBX says ZOMG! to dessert at Zut!
[Photo: Jennifer Yin]