Captain Bauer files a re-review of La Mar under new chef Diego Oka, finding the quality of main courses has improved but the cocktails aren't as good as they used to be. Despite lackluster reviews for La Mar's newer New York sibling, Bauer insists his old favorites like the ceviche, empanadas, and causas are still reliable orders: "Overall...it seems that while the restaurant may have had a rough start in New York, it's improving with age in San Francisco." 2.5 stars. [Chron]
Still in interim reviewer mode, SF Weekly's Alex Hochman eats through the menu at Mission Bowling Club. He finds it best to stick with less delicate fare like the corn dog, fried chicken and vegan burger ("a falafel sandwich on steroids"), and he thinks the Mission Burger hangs onto "the title" of best in San Francisco: "Salty and exceedingly rich, the half-pound patty is topped with a melty layer of mild Monterey jack cheese, a web of sweet caramelized onions, and a tart caper aioli that adds another layer of salt." [SF Weekly]
Hirsch is in the FiDi luring his 9-to-5er friends to meet him at new farm-to-table lunch spot Harrow, and he thinks its "cooler," and "less sterile" than its competitors: Boxed Foods and Urban Picnic. The roast chicken leg is "moist and tender," asparagus "has the perfect snap," the meatloaf sandwich is "the best option," and what Harrow sometimes loses in the warmth of its food it makes up for with low prices: "Considering the dearth of nearby options, the owners could certainly gouge a bit more. Instead, they’ve provided a small gift to the downtown office worker weary of overpriced box salads and artless wraps." [Examiner]
Miller files a twofer on seafood-forward spots. At Local's Corner she left "a couple dishes away from satisfied" after spending $100 for two, still several small plates of uni, crab and cured halibut are "delicate, slight, tickling the taste buds." On the other hand, one easily fills up at old favorite Bar Crudo. There's "ethereal" crudo, whole-roasted fish, and the classic clam chowder: "a creamy, rich bowl of fish, mussels, squid, shrimp, potatoes, and applewood smoked bacon that elicits a moan of pleasure at first spoonful." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Merc has three stars for Walnut Creek's new Corners Tavern, Marin IJ digs live music while dining at Dining Room at Terrapin Crossroads, and finally EBX finds creative Indian fare at Berkeley's Ajanta.