Bauer is out of the picture in today's Datebook, so we'll get started with Carey Sweet's review of Cantinetta Piero, the 9-month-old from Mirabel Hotel & Restaurant Group of Carmel in Yountville's Hotel Luca. Although the atmosphere is three-star stellar, dishes span the "very good" to "muted": "And that summarizes the challenge with Cantinetta Piero. As much as things can be remarkable - an heirloom tomato salad accented with watermelon, ricotta salata, a hint of mint and shaved fennel ($10) - seasoning glitches often creep in, as in perfectly roasted mussels ($9) that were marred by bitter garlic. Sweet's final answer is an overall rating of two stars. [Chron]
Reidinger settles in to watch TV at Spire, near the ballpark. To being with, "the place is noisy, a vibratorium...But the menu, mostly, is farmers-markety." Our critic delights in several of chef Laird Boles' works: his County Line 5 leaf anchored salad ($9), a half chicken ($20) with "marvelous crisp skin" and a halibut "ensemble" ($24) that's "colorful and tasty." The hero of the meal, however, is the chocolate almond layer cake ($8): "I have never had a richer, moister cake. It was so satisfying as to be nearly fatal. But I did live to tell, and now I have told." [SFBG]
The Acute Kauff spends his three visits to the Marina's Viva Goa separating the authentic from the Americanized, the true Goan from the Punjabi. In summary, the winners are beef assado ($12.99) ("you can taste the confluence of Portugal and India"), chicken cafreal ($11.99), pork vindaloo ($10.99) and the chicken xacuti ($9.99) with "one of the loveliest masalas I've tasted in months." The rechardo pomfret ($13.99) and bright-red fish curry ($11.99) fell flat. And the seafood platter ($14.99) goes in the avoid category. [SF Weekly]
The Elsewhere: The CoCo Times plays flavor tug-of-war at The Corner, a Thai restaurant in Martinez; The EBX likes what he finds at Robert Lauriston's Berkeley creation, Locanda da Eva; the Marin IJ enjoys the simplicity of Cibo in Sausalito; Bargain Bite has sliders for breakfast at Sliderbar in Palo Alto and finally Bar Bites has some frog legs at Bistro M's happy hour in Windsor.
Cantinetta Piero. [Photo: Hotel Luca blog]