This week The Unpredictable Kauff takes his turn at Thermidor, the new Mint Plaza spot where the men behind Spork serve mid-20th-century cuisine, adapted to the modern Bay Area palate in varying degrees. chef Bruce Binn "manages the rare feat of making the Caesar salad ($10) look new," and pastry chef Kyle Caporicci's caramel-filled candybar has him "doing things to the caramel-covered plate that would have made your grandmother ground you for a week." But the restaurant's namesake lobster Thermidor is "filled with chunks of overcooked lobster meat and pools of cheesy cream sauce." In summary, "when Binn lets creativity trump culinary history, his retro food tastes great." [SF Weekly]
After a tip-off from a drag queen jaywalking from Roccapulco to Brisas de Acapulco for a bite to eat, Paul Reidinger pens a review of the neighborhood Mexican and Salvadorean eatery; and he appears to like what he finds: "There is an excellent, puckeringly tart ceviche ($11.95), as well as a wonderful dish of knuckle-sized prawns ($13.95) sautéed with garlic and chilies that melt into an addictive red sauce with just the right hint of heat." And then here's his take on carnitas: "crispy-moist, intensely flavorful, and shredded but not overshredded." So Brisas is good, but we can't overlook Reidinger's strange predilection: "Tough cuts of meat are often the tastiest anyway." [Guardian]
And El Bauer is at San Rafael's Las Camelias where Gabriel Fregoso's Mexican cooking "remains enticing" after 32 years and "the house specialties offer the most unusual and satisfying eating." There are some minor service slip-ups, but "Las Camelias still feels fresh, and deserves to be discovered by a new generation of diners." So much so, that the joint gets the 2.5. [Chron]
THE ELSEWHERE: The CoCo Times thinks Oakland's Leige stands out; Metro SV finds more than BBQ at Little Lou’s; the Marin IJ thinks Dish is perfect for Mill Valley; and then finds some surprises at Brick & Bottle; The Merc likes the vibe at Chop Bar; The EBX likes the Cal-Med creations at Zatis; Bar Bites rocks it out at Affronti in Healdsburg; Bargain Bite has a burger at Roam; and finally, the second Datebook review is of Oakland's Ohgane Korean BBQ, which gets a deuce.