With SF Weekly's Jonathan Kauffman devoting this week's review space to reporting on the "Rocky Road" that is the clash between food trucks and downtown San Francisco restaurants, the East Bay provides a coincidental double take.
This week, Origen, a new restaurant in a "cursed" Berkeley space was reviewed both by East Bay Express and San Jose Mercury News. Over at EBX, Jesse Hirsch finds that the venture from Trace Leighton and Daniel Clayton, who also own The Fig Tree in Pleasant Hill, competently cook across Spanish, Latin, Italian, and Asian lines without "overreaching." He tries to prepare diners to not be put off by "an elaborately constructed guide on par with a statistics textbook or the Necronomicon." The owners think the curiosity over whether they'll survive the curse brings in customers, but Hirsch thinks Origen needs to find a way to be more visible on a lonely stretch of Telegraph.
The Merc's Jackie Burrell finds that the locavore farm to fork declarations of Origen don't amount to "political correctness at the expense of gastronomic delight." She doesn't think it is pretentious, though she then points out the restaurant's habit of naming every purveyor on its menu. Overall, she sounds quite enchanted and thinks this might be the restaurant to reverse the high turnover rate.
All Origen Coverage [ ~ ESF ~ ]