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Early Critics Weigh In On Thermidor

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The gentlemen who brought you Spork in spring of 2007, chef Bruce Binn and Neil Jorgenson soft-launched Thermidor in Mint Plaza almost exactly six weeks ago. Ever since, all walks of Yelper, OpenTabler and blogger have been filing early reports on the modernized ode to 60's cuisine and style. Last night, the owners hosted a little grand opening gathering at the restaurant; thus we've deemed today the perfect day to compile the popular opinions out there and request your additions right here or in the comments section below.

The Good News: Scott Hocker of Tasting Table speaks out strongly in favor: "At Thermidor...a refreshing combination of old-guard eats and mid-century design upends the familiar tropes of Bay Area restaurants...Binn's outstanding food harnesses the rarified excesses of fine dining from the last 150 years, reconfiguring them with his own contemporary style. [TastingTable]

The Crustacean News: 7x7's Jessica Battilana filed a "First Bite" with these kind words: "From the first courses, I sampled a Caesar salad and a miniature lobster roll, which may well be my favorite dish of those I tried. The meat is virtually unadorned, save for a bit of butter and a scattering of fresh herbs, and the tender touch with the crustacean makes me look forward to trying other lobster dishes on the menu." [7x7]

The Bad News: But Chowhound's budnball wasn't too pleased: The Chicken Kiev was overcooked and dry with no butter herb center to ooze out when cut. The pork chop was bland and deserves no further mention. The long wait for food is not helped by the fact that no bread is offered. And The Epicurean Zealot probably won't be back: "Most of the dishes we tried came out very traditional versus the modern interpretations I was expecting. It seems they are taking the theme somewhat too literally for my preference. I would have like to have seen them reinvent the form (perhaps unleash the Voltaggio Brothers on the menu?). Deconstruct!" [Chowhound, EZ]

The Dessert Buzz: Meanwhile The Fried Dough Ho is all about one particular dessert: "Coffee, Cigarettes and Doughnuts with carrot cake, white chocolate custard and coffee ice cream. The “cigarette” is a stylized, thin white chocolate tube filled with a creamy mousse and is apparently infused with tobacco leaves reputed to give a nicotine buzz. I can’t comment on whether or not it gave me a nicotine buzz, per se, but the presentation and flavors did excite me...being the Ho that I am, I was terribly impressed with the plating, concept and flavor combinations." [FriedDoughHo]

The Buzz Buzz: The word on the cocktails is overwhelmingly positive. Quoth The Single Guy Chef: "The bar is small, but very experienced (and cute) bartenders. I tried one of their specialty drinks that was well done." And Yelper Jean K. has this to say: "The bar is very sophisticated in a hotel bar kind of way. The doors open out onto Mint Plaza so on warm days it feels very open and nice. The bartenders know what they are doing and make you classic cocktails not on the menu as well (as any good bartender should). The drinks are about $9-10 each." [Chowhound, Yelp]

The Service News: Service experiences range. This Yelp review isn't so hot: "...the service was practically non-existent. As in, I feel like our waitress went to do Escape from Alcatraz during our shift. (Note: If so, I take all of this back - you go, girl!)" to outstanding. But Yelper Princess T. has a joyful time of it: "Yes Please...Ying, our server, couldn't have been more knowledgeable about the food and drinks. Love her. If I weren't already a lesbian I become a lesbian for her. [Yelp, Yelp]

The Interior News: Folks are feeling all over the place about the decor. One soft launch OpenTable reviewer thought the interior was "a little too formal for me" and Yelper Cortney E. says: "the interior of the place is pretty stark which is a shame as there are perfect walls for some dramatic art. Instead, you are engulfed in shades of gray." But many reviewers across the board echo the favorable feelings of Thrillist's Nick Elliot: Thermidor's a blessedly kitsch-less homage to the finer points of 60s era grub n' style with a cool nod to contemporary: fat cement columns're juxtaposed with warmly lit wood paneling and chrome Sciolari chandeliers." [OpenTable, Yelp, Thrillist]

Do unload your thoughts and feelings as time permits.

Thermidor bar manager Morgan Schick makes an off-menu cocktail. [Photo: Fried Dough Ho]


8 Mint Plaza, San Francisco, CA

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