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Bauer Unhappy at Morimoto; Unterman Loves Comal

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[Photo: Morimoto/Facebook]

Bauer loved Masaharu Morimoto's flagship restaurant when it first opened in Napa, but it seems the rapidly expanding Morimoto empire has taken its toll on the mothership. Now, it "feels like paint-by-numbers cooking" at the three-year-old restaurant. "I was disappointed in almost all the seafood," said Bauer, especially the "soft and flabby" sushi. Some decent dishes couldn't wash the bad mojo away, and the service didn't help: a particularly awkward episode involving edible "dirt" ended with the server suggesting Bauer deal with some troublesome chocolates himself. "From start to finish, the experience at Morimoto felt somewhat corporate and impersonal." Two stars. [Chron]

Patricia Unterman has emerged once again with a glowing review of Comal, which she calls "the restaurant that the beloved Delfina would be–if it were Mexican." She loves the "clarity," "simplicity" and "balance" of the food, like a bowl of tender tripe whose texture is "unctuous yet provocatively resistant ... sexy and addictive." "From chips and salsas to the whole rotisserie chickens, saucy tripe, stuffed chiles, quesadillas and Mexican cocktails, everything delights and satisfies." [Unterman on Food]

Jonathan Kauffman rocked out at the The Chapel's newly opened restaurant, The Vestry, which he calls "much more than a pre-concert stop." "Unfussy" dishes like the "citrus-smacked" seared scallops and "righteously tender" Alsatian sausage impressed, and you can't beat the location or the fenced-in patio, where a "hive of conversation" will keep you entertained (not to mention the overheard strains of the night's music performance). [Tasting Table]

Cynthia Salaysay also hit the Mission this week, investigating the vibe at Chico's Grill. San Franciscans can afford to pick and choose their Mexican food, but Chico's is "memorable for its off-menu, housemade, organic blue-corn tortillas and its rich, complex sauces." Housed in the former Olivia's Brunch and Fine Dining space, Chico's delivers a "zingy" breakfast, "rich" tamales and "pretty darn sexy" mole poblano. "It seems a shame that it's currently undiscovered and potentially lost in The City's vast array of Mexican restaurants." [Examiner]

Meanwhile, Luke Tsai ventured to Couyon Cajun & Po'boys, where he recommends "feel[ing] okay about hanging out at a punk-rock dive bar" before stopping in. A "smell of marijuana smoke" and a "bearded biker dude" are fixtures at this spot, but "the tasty, unpretentious food coming out of the kitchen is worth seeking out." The spot is "reasonably clean and spacious," and the food "demonstrates an integrity typically found at upscale restaurants and gastropubs." Save room for the "damn fine" Crispy Kitty, The Dauphine and the Pulled Piggy, solid sandwiches all. The bottom line? Couyon offers "nothing frou-frou, nothing served in a mason jar, almost everything priced at less than $10—but everything tasty and made with care." [EBX]

The Vestry

777 Valencia St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 551-7306 Visit Website

Morimoto Napa

610 Main St., Napa, CA

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