For his Thursday Datebook review, Mikey Flip Flops finally relaxes at La Mar after trying three times to score a later-than-6 p.m. reservation. "Gaston Acurio's concept clearly is a hit," he finds. "...and after a somewhat choppy start, the food has seemed to find its course." Bauer appears to like the ceviche best of all, and then notes "Prices of just about everything have gone up a couple of dollars." In the end, La Mar reminds him of yesteryear's Waterbar in that "The real focal point is what lies outside the expansive warehouse windows." Mike flips his ceviche go-to the 2.5.
Meanwhile, Patty Untz is the the Ballpark, sinking her teeth into a "truly great piece of food at Public House...Thom's Cheesesteak Sandwich ($12), one of the best sandwiches in town, period. After balancing things out with several salad holdovers from Acme Chophouse, the space's former incarnation under the same ownership; its' time to talk strategy. "If you go on a game day, expect a madhouse...Order all food and drink at one time and hope it will all come," which is worth it because: "The Public House version of junk food isn’t junk at all." [SF Examiner]
Among the myriad baby animal metaphors a critic may be inclined to use for a new restaurant, The Kauff likens his latest review subject, Local: Mission Eatery, to a bleating colt: "If starvation or confusion doesn't kill the place while it's still finding its feet, it may grow into something quite wonderful." Owners Yaron Milgrom and chef Jake Des Voignes, formerly of Fish & Farm are taking a novel approach to the new business: "They've opened a combination sandwich shop, high-end restaurant, lending library, cooking-class space, and bakery." Recapping various lunch sandwiches and dinner plates, The Kauff notes more highs (an "intricately designed" asparagus-egg sandwich, for example) than lows ("cottony-fleshed" halibut), but he's still not sold: "This idiosyncratic approach is perfectly tailored to Generation Indie. To make a real go of the place, though, they'll have to sell their complicated mission to the rest of us locals, too." [SF Weekly]
Paul Reidinger is on Valencia St., where he visits the exception to the "'bar' comes before 'grill'" rule at the 1.5 month old Southend Grill 'N' Bar. He samples potato skins that are "plush to the tooth and very satisfying," Thai lettuce wraps with ground beef "a tick or two past well-done," and spinach ravioli with a "soupy" pesto sauce. Somehow "flaws permeate the cooking, but without seriously diminishing its pleasures." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE:The EBX gets comfortable at SR24, CoCo Times travels to Burgundy via RN74, the Marin IJ tries a pizza at Arizmendi, Bar Bites is in the Marina at Umami, Bargain Bites has dessert for lunch at Sweetie Pies in Napa, and for today's second Datebook review, Carey Sweet is at Sea Thai Bistro.