SF Weekly's Anna Roth says the more comforting than pretentious Rich Table is "what a neighborhood restaurant should be." The Hayes Valley restaurant offers "a more serious spin on comfort food than most," with familiar flavors ranging from salmon and saltines to elegantly executed bread and butter. While the staff is "friendly and informational without rhapsodizing or preaching," dishes from the daily menu lack "time to tweak the dishes to perfection," like undercooked beans and gristly chicken. But in terms of variety, the restaurant's ever-changing menu keeps it fresh: "Every time you come in it's almost like the first time." [SF Weekly]
In his initial visit to Range in the Mission, Michael Bauer gave the American restaurant 3 ½ stars, but his recent return made him reconsider the rating. He notes that when chef Phil West operated the place, every dish "[made] you want to jump up and down and order more, even if you're stuffed" and prices, like the coffee-braised pork shoulder with all the fixings, couldn't be beat at $17. While the food is still good under chef and Piccino alum Rachel Sillcocks, the restaurant is still "in transition" and "missing the wow factor." The menu has standouts, like the roast chicken with skin "so perfect it almost looked painted on," but the final deciding factors for Bauer concern prices, which have steadily increased since the restaurant's 2005 opening. Solid food and less awesome value earned Range 3 stars. [Chron]
Returning to a childhood classic, SFBG's Virginia Miller explores the local soda shop revival. At Cole Valley's Ice Cream Bar, boozy shakes take the spotlight with offerings like their spicy Angostura phosphate and butterscotched Can't Stop. Corner Store in Western Addition sticks more to the classic diner with a regional spin. The owner selects domestic alcohol whenever possible and drinks like the Muir Trail, which uses native Bay Area gin, pays "tribute to local nature, both in name and the use." The Store has stellar entrees too, like Snake River pork loin with shishito peppers and a "zippy" nectarine mostarda and modern spins on deli classics like egg salad and smoked salmon. [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: EBX previews new food tour Savor Oakland; The Merc gets cozy with Blackhawk Grille in Danville; Marin IJ finds revised seasonal fare at Left Coast Depot in Novato, and The Chron notices lots of creme fraiche at Oakland's District.
— Ashley Mason