A month after the Limon on Valencia St. turned into Limon Rotisserie, Bauer swoops in to notice "the change - and lower prices - have rewarded him with a full house." But the chicken is "dry and mealy," and "other dishes also didn't quite measure up to the South Van Ness version." Still service is good and the drinks are spot-on: "...it's easy to see why this restaurant seems to have found a new energy. While the food isn't quite up to par yet, it's good enough to keep us happy, especially after one or two of those Pisco Sours." 2 stars. [Chron]
Josh Sens visits fellow San Francisco magazine scribe Daniel Patterson's new Haven, and walks away feeling the restaurant embodies its name: "a refuge in a quiet port of call." He describes the restaurant "as a thinking chef’s California bistro, where approachable food gets tilted slightly on its side...For all the elements at work in her cooking, Alter aims to be accessible, not esoteric." The most gushing part of the review comes later: "If there’s a better pastry chef than [Matt] Tinder in the Bay Area, he or she has escaped my radar. His concoctions, wildly creative but perfectly composed, set sweet and savory in balanced opposition, as with bourbon mousse on a sweet crust, with bourbon ice cream, rye toast, and dulce de leche..." 3 stars. [San Fran Mag]
Kauff has things he likes and things he's confused by at Bouche, the new French restaurant where Bar Crudo used to live on Bush St. Robuchon- and Ducasse-pedigreed chef Nicholas Borzée's "best dishes all shared a characteristic: They were single-mindedly rich, the kind of food that one imagines coming out of Escoffier's kitchen": chestnut cream soup, roasted lamb shoulder, and squid sauteed in butter and black trumpets. "...Technical flaws were few, proof not only of the chef's experience but his ability to work within the space he's been given. But the food often tasted disjointed or just plain odd, like the writing of an honors student who is still learning to think for himself." Overall Kauff left "more puzzled than satisfied." [SF Weekly]
Untermanissimo thinks the dollar signs are worth it at Farina now that Angelo Auriana is in the kitchen. Chestnut flour tortelli, John Dory, and timballo di raschera, are among the dishes she mentions and then, the love: "The food at Farina, however, is in a class by itself: profoundly Italian, refined, expensive and now, with Angelo Auriana as chef, transporting...Frankly, I stopped worrying about the tab with the first bite of the first dish on Auriana’s daily changing menu, trippa alla calabrese ($14), beef tripe braised to buttery tenderness, and infused with red pepper, wine and tomatoes. Priceless." [Examiner]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Marin IJ gives Novato Café an "inviting", The Merc says Mitsunobu could be the best restaurant on the Penninsula, and SFBG's Virginia Miller rounds up favorite new lunch spots across the Bay Area: Nombe in the Mission, 903 in Bernal, Sweet Woodruff in the TenderNob, and Southie in Oakland.