Filling in for The Kauff this week at SF Weekly is Matthew Stafford, with a review of Cafe Des Amis in step with Bauer's recounting of equal parts hit and miss. He calls the French onion soup is "perfectly serviceable but nothing special." Beef bourguignon, bouillabaisse and chocolate marquise fall in the same category more or less. The favorite app is tête de cochon ($12), a "postmodern" brandade is "excellently messy" and -- also in line with Sir Mike-a-lot -- the "best dessert on the menu was a kitchen original, 24-layer crêpe cake ($8)." To sum it up:
"Cafe des Amis is at its best when it takes tried-and-true classics and reinvents them into something exciting enough to capture the imagination of the modern palate. The rest of the time it's just a reasonable facsimile of a rich, soul-satisfying cuisine seldom encountered in all its glory outside its homeland, and never in Cow Hollow."
Meanwhile in Redwood City, The Chron gives Martins West 2.5 stars across the board, although the review is so favorable it sounds like a three star affair: "The decor reflects the homey but adventurous food, reimagined British pub fare fashioned with local ingredients. It's creative comfort food, generally well balanced and executed, especially the meat." Wine, "lovely" cocktails, an "extensive" Scotch selection and service impress as does the dessert menu: "every one we tried was top notch." [Chron]
Reidinger returns to the "older, time-tested" Paradise Pizza and Pasta at the edge of West Portal. He has a soup that's too creamy and mentions some apps, but all we want to hear about is the pizza: "crusts are thin and crisp enough to hold a firm point (with good chewiness) while flashing some well-blistered puff along the edges." And "the ingredients, although not exotic, are fresh and vivid, the Italian sausage in particular, which skillfully balances the assertiveness of its two principal players, garlic and fennel seed." [SFBG]
The Elsewhere: Bar Bites digs into the decadent bar menu at La Folie Lounge, Bargain Bite seeks out Urban Curry on Broadway, Marin IJ checks out Sausalito's Seahorse from the owner of nearby Il Piccolo Cafe, Metro SV loves on soup at Soontofu Trail; the EBX likes the brick chicken at Nex, adjacent to Mua in Oakland and The Merc is whisked back to Jerusalem by Zaki Kabob House