Farmer Bauer files his Thursday Datebook review of Ubuntu; and the renowned vegetable restaurant/yoga studio survives the loss of star chef Jeremy Fox with all of its Chron stars intact. Of new chef Aaron London, Bauer comments:
"He is well grounded in the Ubuntu style but has changed the menu significantly - and raised the intimidation factor...Reading the menu is almost like interpreting hieroglyphics because of the coded words, quotation marks, unfamiliar terms and adjectives such as 'thinnings' and 'transparencies.' Yet you can relax. Order anything, and you'll be happy. London doesn't disappoint in stunning presentation or precise, lush combinations."The nationally hyped veg mecca maintains 3.5 stars for food and an impeccable triplet overall. [SFGate]
Next up is The Kauff, who ventures into the land of non-authentic, "once-removed," Puerto Rican fare at Parada 22 in the Upper Haight. Two New Yorkers, The Corner's Alex Jackson and "one of the guys from Cha Cha Cha," have created an "ethnic" restaurant that might just stand the test of time:
"...whether the food at Parada 22 is still good in a few years will depend on how closely the empire-building Jackson (and his recipe consultant) stay involved with the cooks. The room itself promises to age well. With its rough wood tables and benches, its exposed brick stretching up to high ceilings...and that incandescent green, the place will benefit from a little scuffing." [SF Weekly]
And Patty Untz Untz skips over to the Ferry Building to jam to the beats of "Thelonious Monk-like jazz" at Delica rf 1. She's here for the newish nighttime sushi and Japanese "tapas" service," where the use of sustainable fish is clearly a driving force behind her glowing analysis: "The sushi bar serves only wild fish, not farmed, and features sustainable choices such as toro from abundant albacore tuna." In the end: "The purity of Delica’s Japanese and Californian ingredients combined with bounteous presentation really does merge two cultures in a way that brings the best of both to the table." [Examiner]
Paul Reidinger is in the Tenderloin, ducking into Southeast Asian vegan restaurant, Golden Era, and much relieved it's not "crowded with sooty Mafia dons." Although he does encounter a menu chock-a-block with red-flag-raising quotation marks: "...a 'steak' concocted from a portobello mushroom or some such, often fails to convince. Despite the quote marks, the food is splendid. It compares favorably to that of Millennium, the fancier and pricier (and worthy) spot in the Hotel California." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX finds Hong Kong in El Cerrito by way of Jac's Asian Bistro; The Merc time machines it to S. Dali, Tapas Bar & Restaurant in downtown San Mateo; The Marin IJ favors the vegetable biryani at new Arti Cafe in Lagunitas; Bar Bites does tapas at Barlata in Oakland; and Bargain Bite dives into Berkeley institution Starry Plough Pub.