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Bauer Adores A16; Sutton Hungry But Happy at Saison

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[Photo: Foodnut/Flickr]

Bauer revisited one of his favorites, but with a hint of trepidation: would A16 maintain its high level of quality after expanding with a Rockridge spinoff? Fear not, dear Mikey: "A return visit to the original last weekend showed that my fears were unjustified." From the staff ("keeps things running at a high level") to the wine ("I've never been disappointed"), A16 doesn't disappoint, and Christopher Thompson takeover in the kitchen doesn't hurt, either. Sirloin steak, goat chop and a swordfish fillet shine: "It was clear from the start that the kitchen is in good hands." Three stars. [Chron]

Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton checked out Saison, where he found "one of America's finest and most expensive restaurants." Like all mentions of Saison, Sutton must discuss the price: it comes to "$1,020 for two after optional wine pairings, tax, and tip." His meal has "important implications for the future of American gastronomy in its most delicious and dictatorial forms" and Skenes "uses flavors like a scientist," leaving Sutton impressed and $1K out, yet somehow still hungry. [Bloomberg]

Anna Roth took this week to go on a sandwich walkabout, sampling some gold standards on the local meat-eaters list. "A butcher's sandwich is dense and carnivore-friendly, showcasing the product in an irresistible form of edible advertising," so that's where Roth started. At Avedano's Holly Park Market, she found "fantastic" sandwiches made on toasted ciabatta bread. No complaints there, nor at Fatted Calf Charcuterie, where the meatloaf, porchetta and pulled pork don't disappoint. Less so at Golden Gate Meat Company, where the pulled pork sandwich was "dry and overwhelmingly salty." Prather Ranch and 4505 Meats also satisfied Roth's cravings. [SF Weekly]

Kauffman headed down south in search of Moroccan, and he found a "brick-red" purée of eggplants and tomatoes, and carrots simmered with cumin and paprika, at San Mateo's Fassia, where everything but "the paper-thin sheets" of warqa pastry are made in-house. Owners Jean-Roger and Drissia Rafael bring their a-game with b'stilla and tagines, and Kauf has no choice but to give them his seal of notability. [Tasting Table]

Wendy Hector visited The Willows, The Sycamore's SoMa spinoff, and pronounced it "the perfect pub." "There are piles of board games. Pinball machines. Lots of craft beers on tap. Simple but potent cocktails. Genuinely friendly bartenders." And the food is no afterthought: the pork belly doughnut's "interplay of textures — crispy, creamy, meaty — and the yin-yang play of savory and sweet make it a craveable classic." It's not rocket science: "I'm a simple girl and The Willows is my kind of place." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai paid a visit to Berkeley's Rangoon Super Stars, which occupies a notoriously haunted location on Telegraph. But Tsai has reason to be hopeful: "chef-owner Win Aye is serving better, more exciting exemplars of [Burmese] cuisine ... than anyone else on this side of the bay." Aye was the opening chef at both East Bay Burma Superstar locations, and it shows: "after one taste of a salad like [the tea leaf salad], you'll have a hard time going back to plain old American-style tossed salads." Here's hoping the food Tsai says is "lovely, interesting, and speaks volumes all by itself" will turn the restaurant's location into a success. [EBX]


2355 Chestnut Street, , CA 94123 (415) 771-2216 Visit Website

The Willows

1582 Folsom Street, , CA 94103 (415) 226-7768 Visit Website


178 Townsend Street, , CA 94107 (415) 828-7990 Visit Website