In today's Datebook review of Oliveto, The Leaning Tower of Bauer calls out the struggles that've faced the Oakland Italian restaurant since Paul Bertolli left in 2005. But the new team of exec chef Jonah Rhodehamel and rising star chef de cuisine Malachi Harland is finally "bringing back the soulful food that first put this restaurant on the culinary map." There's a "new vibrancy" and just a few "minor disappointments" in the grilled and sauteed dishes. Importantly, Bauer doesn't feel "hornswaggled" when he gets the bill. So it's back on with three stars for the East Bay standout. [Chron]
Reidinger checks out Joe Manzare's Globe, still kicking it with a wood-burning oven in Jackson Square since "before Bill Clinton got himself impeached." He finds "the menu is as pared-down and purposeful as the décor." Pizza here is "a complex, satisfying experience," despite droopiness and some under-salted bites. The desserts are the only thing that shows the restaurant's age with "fatigue and disengagement." He drives it home with a globe pun about apple tart: "the flat-earth version, in need of some roundedness." [SFBG]
Even though Brenda's isn't totally done with its revamp, The Kauff hits chef Brenda Buenviaje's new dinner service for a review. He finds many of the staples from the brunch and lunch menus have been carried over with priced knocked up "50 cents or maybe a buck." To sum up the food, the specials board appears to be the way to go: "most of the new dishes I tried were great, while more than a few of Brenda's classics seemed to have lost their focus." Brenda's fried chicken, for example, had a "coating so crumbly and soft that I could push it off with a thumb." But specials like shrimp monica, braised pork shoulder and a "lovely trout fillet" provide "great," though fleeting bites as nightly specials. The one constant? Biscuits "so light they appear to have been leavened with a bicycle pump." [SF Weekly]
The Elsewhere: The EBX is giddy about Pepe's Pizza Buffet, Marin IJ celebrates Sausalito's stalwart Feng Nian, The Merc enjoys the family vibe at Danville's Prickly Pear Cantina, Bar Bites hits the patio at Skool in Potrero and Bargain Bite has a Reuben at the Inner Richmond's East Coast-style Jersey's on 6th.
The dining room at Oliveto. [Photo: Cooking with Amy]