Hog Island Oyster Company. [Photo: Yelp/Toro E.]
The timing for the Civic Center's new Scandinavian restaurant Pläj couldn't be better, according to Michael Bauer. He writes: "With the publicity given to Noma and other Scandinavian restaurants, we're primed to explore Nordic cuisine." But even for the less adventurous, he says diners "will warm to this preparation" of traditional Scandinavian ingredients like cloudberries, herring and ground cherries. Savory dishes like the beer-braised ox cheeks are "homey" and "feel like Christmas." Delicious food combined with the space's stunningly sleek interior earns the restaurant a whopping: 2.5 stars [Chron]
SF Weekly's Anna Roth praises Hog Island Oyster Company for the namesake bivalves, but says, "go somewhere else in the Ferry Building for a meal." The Ferry Building location is prime for shucking on the water and the jalapeño-laced mignonette is "an ideal companion to the briny treats." But the restaurant's other offerings, like the clams with chorizo that "bullied the subtle flavors of the clams into submission" and "woefully thin" clam chowder, lack the succulent oysters' finesse. [SF Weekly]
7x7's Marcia Gagliardi enjoys a Southern experience at Presidio's Dixie. With "can't-miss" chicken-fried quail on a roasted garlic waffle and "dirty-rice style" risotto with livers and brandy, chef Joseph Humphrey's culinary journey from Florida through Northern California is evident. The menu also touts indulgent gumbo filé and shaved tasso ham, but she heeds caution against the seductive wine pairings and Old Fashioneds: "a DUI is a federal offense." [7x7]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Merc samples martinis and small plates at Danville's Martini Sky; Marin IJ travels to Novato for Asian delights at Mandarin Restaurant; and East Bay Express tries East African pizza at MLK Café in North Oakland.
— Ashley Mason