Michale Bauer applauds Cafe Des Amis for "its solid rendition of the classics along with informed service," updating their review rating to 2 ½ stars. Since chef Mark Sullivan took over the Marina kitchen, dishes changed to a "less ambitious but more delicious" menu, favoring well-executed pate de Campagne ("the best? around") and beef bourguignon to the nouveau style. Although a grainy chocolate mousse "brought back visions of my earlier, less successful visits," the space's dark wood partitions take him away again: "you can almost imagine yourself in Paris." [Chron]
SF Weekly's Anna Roth ponders if the newly opened dessert shops show the city is ready for a Parisian sit down pastry café. Signs point to yes at Dogpatch's Chocolate Lab whose chic, reclaimed California elm interior "feels like a Sunset magazine spread." But fun details, like the Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous sundae with homemade marshmallows and bittersweet chocolate sauce shows the restaurant's playful side. ("It makes you feel like the luckiest kid in the world.") The critic thinks that the kooky, but dry macacrons atTout Sweet Patisserie in Union Square need some work. The pucker-worthy Tesla Tart shows promise, but savory dishes like their brioche twist on egg-in-a-hole "seem like they're showing off." [SF Weekly]
SFBG's Virginia Miller finds sweet shops that stand out in the offbeat confectionary trend. Though "bacon doughnuts may be overdone elsewhere," bourbon cheesecake-filled bacon doughnuts from Baker and Banker receive the Miller seal of approval. In Asian-inspired treats, she zeros in on North Beach's Delise, whose matcha green tea cupcake and miso sesame rice crispy can share the floor with nostalgic red velvet twinks from Pretty Please Bakeshop and dark chocolate filled peanut butter cupcakes from Sweet Bar Bakery. Chocolate Lab's chocolate malted ice cream float and Frozen Kuhsterd's holiday Peppermint Bark and Eggnog Latte custard flavors steal with cold category. [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: EBX praises the sourdough crust at Nick's Pizza in Oakland; The Merc brunches at Aunt Mary's Cafe, The Duck Club, and Nonni's Bistro in East Bay; Marin IJ finds authentic Guatemalan dishes at El Lucerito in San Rafael; The Chron samples succulent steamed dumplings at Berkeley's Cafe Tibet.