Bauer opens this week's review of Baumé by telling the story of its chef, Bruno Chemel: his unhappy exit from Chez TJ after the restaurant lost a Michelin star, and his subsequent vindication at new venture Baumé, where he earned two Michelin stars this year. Since Bauer gave Baumé a 2.5 star review after it opened, he says things have improved:
"Since my review in April 2010, Chemel has matured and the food feels less like a stage set and more like a finished production. However, prices have risen significantly; Michelin stars come at a cost, after all."
Bauer also complains that "in many cases the wines seemed to fight Chemel's cooking," and "service has a way to go to reach the caliber of the food," but he's still impressed enough to raise the rating to three stars. "It can be great, but it needs time to rise to four-star status." [Chron]
Ms. Unterman says the best place to eat at Union Square's new Claudine is its "intimate U-shaped" bar. Her "favorite dishes are the salads — simple, pure, colorful and perfectly dressed," and you need to watch out for someone in back who's "radically undercooking things." Regardless, she "can see Claudine becoming a true neighborhood hang, with a lunch crowd, an afternoon crowd, an after-work crowd and a dinner crowd, all eating, drinking and happily chatting away at the bar." [Examiner]
J. Kauff goes to investigate Jang Soo, an Outer Richmond Korean BBQ restaurant that was recently remodeled "to look stylish." They serve "Pretty much the same menu as places like Brothers and Korea House, but "prices rival Aziza's down the street, with many entrées approaching $30. When the food flops, the amount listed on the check can grate." To avoid this, Kauff recs "kimchi chigae ($12), one of Jang Soo's best," and says "three or four people can make a meal off the pork bossam ($29)...It is a dish elegant enough to be eaten with your fingers in a room that sparkles with light refracted through a thousand crystals." [SF Weekly]
THE ELSEWHERE: Chron has 2 stars for Albany Nepalese restaurant Hamro Aangan; despite himself, EBX's Jesse Hirsch is drawn into the spirit of Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe, The Merc calls Walnut Creek's Cypress "retro heaven," and the Marin IJ has fun at Novato's Maya Palenque.