Hilariously, El Kauff goes out with a finale review of Penthouse Steakhouse, where he pays the $20 cover to get closer to the entertainment and ascertain if chef Michael Ellis could really get a Michelin star one day. There's a nice asparagus dish with a "62-degree egg," and a "succulent" lamb, but there are misses, but the strippers steal the show: "As we paid our bill, a dancer in 8-inch heels and a thong crawled down the pole from the ceiling like a jaguar stalking a rabbit. It was the most impressive display, culinary or athletic, I'd witnessed all evening." [SF Weekly]
Meanwhile at the Wharf, Jesse Hirsch finds "the exception to the rule" in The Codmother. The small truck's patio is a "sunshine vortex," and thee fish tacos are damn good: "Small fillet portions were topped with Baja sauce (sour cream and mayonnaise with pickled jalapenos, chili and lime), and cilantro, served over Tapatio hot sauce and slaw. The ingredients were bright, fresh and well-apportioned; these were some of the best fish tacos I’ve had." [EBX]
Miller chimes in on behalf of SF sushi, boldly stating that it "more than keeps up" with LA and NY with two newcomers to back up her point. Noe Valley gets "a destination sushi bar" in the new Saru where several "rather playful, unique bites prepared with care," include the "not near as junk-food-sushi as it sounds" Popcorn Tuna roll. Then there's Joshu-ya Brasserie, where the "$35 omakase is a steal," and chef-owner Jason Kwon "is going for the Bay Area standard of seasonal, sustainable, locally-sourced ingredients." [SFBG]
Unterman spends an evening at Contigo where "nibbling on bite size tapas and shareable raciones with glasses of Spanish wine, can transport anyone to urbane, modern Spain." In fact, "Contigo’s tapas ($2 to $3 for each piece) are better than most of the ones I find splayed across bars in Barcelona." There’s "tender" squid, "divine" wood oven roasted sardines on toast and "light, elegant, and evocatively Spanish" fritters for dessert. All told, "there's such a convivial spirit at this place, emanating from staff and fellow diners, so closely seated, and the cooks visible in the open kitchen, that you feel embraced, by a family, a community." [Unterman on Food]
THE ELSEWHERE: Chron's Thursday review is two-star tun to Iron Gate in Belmont, The Merc finds Dragon's Pond in Walnut Creek "simple" and "fresh," Marin IJ tries out the Gordon
RamsayDrysdale's small plates at the new Sweetwater, the EBX calls Divino "unpretentious Cal-Italian."