Claudine's new chef Bridget Batson may have only made "small tweaks" to the Union Square restaurant's delightful menu, but for Michael Bauer they "make the difference" in his 2 ½ star ranking. Execution errors ranging from a "scalding" hot container during dessert to a "little too acidic" trout salad hint to the critic that the esteemed lunch place may have "lost the edge." While he found other dishes marginally successful, like the chicken with root vegetables, grilled swordfish, and meatball soup, the "waits between courses were substantial" allowing only those not in the lunch rush to enjoy the space's "charming" dining room and outdoor seating. [Chron]
Despite the fine dining atmosphere, SF Weekly's Anna Roth thinks the pricey offerings of M.Y. China are "hard to justify" with Chinatown "a few blocks away." The location, tucked away on the fourth floor of the Westfield San Francisco Centre, leaves something to be desired for the critic, especially when some tables face the ever-so-stunning view of the mall concourse. Celebrity chef Martin Yan's hand-pulled noodles, which "have just the right amount of chew," are worthy of praise, but "barely discernible" pork and truffle juicy dumplings ($18 for five) and kung pao Dungeness crab ($42) aren't as striking and boast a hefty price tag. [SF Weekly]
Given Trick Dog's new Pantone-inspired cocktail menu, SFBG's Virginia Miller offers her picks for never-boring bar programs and their tasty bites. At the coveted Rich Table in Hayes Valley drinks resemble dishes, serving the Carnegie Martini with savory caraway and pickle notes that take her back to her first reuben. Her food picks meld crunchy, granola-like ingredients with comfort items like "doughy, savory doughnuts ($7) topped with shaved dried porcini" and "cool buttermilk panna cotta doused in pumpkin seeds, sprouts, and spices." For Michael Mina in the Financial District, the drinks compliment bright Asian flavors of sencha green tea, shiso leaf, and yuzu. Her recommended bites (abalone, raw oysters, and ahi tuna tartare) bring a fresh bite. Selections at Hog & Rocks in the Mission serves "robust yet refined" flavors that tart and balance cocktails like the Miller's Meyer to salty ham and cheese-filled bites. [SFBG]
This week's review on Unterman on Food reads like a ballad to Bar Tartine chef Nick Balla, who allegedly makes "the most fun to eat" chopped salad in town and a loveable grilled tripe dish. She deduces that the "culinary bridge" earned him a successful transition from Japanese cooking to home-style Hungarian cuisine is pickling and she writes, it's "used in everything." Other notable tastes are the Mission street restaurant's daytime fare of open faced "house cured prosciutto," smoked cod, and ricotta Scandinavian sandwiches. [UoF]
THE ELSEWHERE: EBX recommends Cafe 88 and Hot Pot House for cold Oakland nights; The Merc savors spicy dishes at Padi in Berkeley; Marin IJ tries the first Belcampo Meat Co. dining location in Larkspur; The Chron gets nostalgic over panna cotta at Gianni's Italian Bistro in San Ramon; 2 stars.
Claudine. [Photo via Aubrie Pick]