Kauffman's Benu experience is best summed by the tite: "almost flawless." The review explains a tug of war between the "resoundingly poetic" and those dishes that "didn't resonate." But it's obvious The Kauff things chef Corey Lee has potential for greatness, comparing his chef "language" to Vladimir Nabokov or David Foster Wallace. Other notable takeaways: the lack of tablecloths at such a price point has ticked off some people and Lee's singular integration of Korean, Japanese and Chinese influences is a true differentiator at this high level of cuisine. "In a milieu that demands perfection, Benu is not yet perfect — but has every promise of becoming so." [SF Weekly]
Reidinger heads over to "semi-sketchy" Folsom St. for dinner at Citizen's Band: "in its hipster-city way, a convincing contemporary version of a roadside diner." The recounting is overwhelmingly positive, with just one rib at the fried onions atop the mac and cheese. "Chef Chris Beerman's menu includes elements of what we might call comfort cuisine, including macaroni and cheese and a burger with fries, but it also soars into the higher airs of the gastronomic ether — and even the homey stuff is enriched by a close attention to detail." [SFBG]
Courtyard at Benu. [Photo: Flickr/phomchick]
Meanwhile the atmosphere sort of kills it for The Sunset's The Gold Mirror in the lone Datebook review today. Still some solid renditions of classics like a Caesar -- "among the best I've had" -- and housemade cannelloni earn the food two and a half stars. So the final tally is a twofer. [SFGate]
The Elsewhere: The Merc was intimidated by the menu at first at eVe in Berkeley, Metro SV doesn't read Kyora Japanese Restaurant by its cover, the Marin IJ eats at the cafe at the Marin Youth Center, the EBX has a quick flashback through Bay Area pizza history in its review of Paisan in Berkeley. And there's no Bar Bites on SFGate today, but Bargain Bite is seduced by the Lazy Susans at China First on Clement.