NOE VALLEY - We'll start this week off with Molto Bauer as usual, who's made a trip to Noe Valley to update his review of Bacco Ristorante, a nice Italian neighborhood spot that suffered the tragic loss of its chef owner Paolo Dominici last year. His wife Shari has since stepped to the fore and thankfully: "She epitomizes the warmth and caring attitude that makes this neighborhood restaurant so endearing and enduring." Although some entrees fumble, outstanding pasta renditions and a tiramisu that "ranks among the best" help the seven-year-old business hang on to 2.5 stars out of its former three: "As if channeling her husband's spirit, Shari Dominici has preserved the soul of Bacco." [Chron]
THE SUNSET - Persistant Kauff braves the Thai-language menu at family-owned Chabaa Thai Cuisine and the Outer Sunset to bring us this insightful play-by-play of its northeastern Thai offerings. Chef "Songla Sriprasom is the Thai Chris Cosentino, a specialist in Isaan charcuterie" and she excels where pork is involved. Though the "three crispy things salad" was "fried to the consistency of balsa wood," The Kauff clearly likes the place, going so far as to enlist Chez Pim to help him translate the Thai-only section of the menu. It's now revealed right here, for your reading pleasure. [SF Weekly]
FINANCIAL DISTRICT - Reidinger admits he's distracted while researching his review of Cigar Bar & Grill: "Tobacco smoke powerfully interferes with our sensations of taste and flavor. On the other hand, there is something to be said for the spectacle of strapping 25-year-old lads (many with their Yahoo ID cards dangling from their belts) manfully chomping on their rolled cylinders amid swirling wreaths of smoke." But he keeps his hands busy with "preparations [that] seemed to lack any Spanish or Mexican influence at all — but that didn't mean they weren't splendid," like ribs with a tangy coleslaw side. Still he wonders: "Would Freud have enjoyed this coleslaw, or would his attention have been riveted elsewhere?" [SFBG]
NOPA - The Chron files its second Datebook review of Bistro Central Parc: "Barely 5 months old, the bistro is both a hit and a miss that needs time to grow. Some dishes take you to Paris, while others leave you stranded at Aeroport Charles de Gaulle." The service is knowledgeable and the scene is lively, but all that can be mustered are 2 stars. [Chron]
THE ELSEWHERE: The CoCo Times finds Danville's Laurus serene; The EBX finds Oakland's Bay Wolf is still going strong; The Marin IJ gives Boca's Neapolitan pizzas the nod; SV Merc gets its goat at Birrieria in San Jose; Bar Bites has a Boca Martini at Boca Steak and Seafood; and finally Bargain Bite nabs one of six tables at the Inner Richmond's Tawan's Thai Food.
Bacco. [Photo: SanFranciscoDays]