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Bauer Disappointed by Rivoli

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The exterior of Rivoli. [Photo: Rivoli]

While Michael Bauer used to enjoy crossing the bridge to Berkeley's Rivoli, he found himself disappointed by Wendy Brucker's food this go-round, deeming a complicated swordfish dish "strange" and "muddled." "The flavors were in disarray" on another dish, the lamb and pork meatballs, and a cocktail of Scotch and housemade root beer met with such disapproval that the waiter took it off his bill. The only highlights for Bauer were the appetizers and desserts, particularly the Caesar salad and chocolate bread pudding, and pleasant service and atmosphere allowed Rivoli to squeak out two stars. [Chron]

Fans of the food at Excelsior dive Broken Record have been vocally bemoaning Shane LaValley and James Moisey's departure for Rickybobby on the Web (just as fans of Ryan Ostler and Kat Zacher, now at Hi-Lo BBQ, bemoaned their loss before LaValley and Moisey), but Jesse Hirsch finds lots to like about new chef Mark Furr, praising his "addictive" oxtail ragout, the "excellent pastrami" in his Reuben, and "moist and rich" cheeseburger. In conclusion: "Get over it, everybody. Furr is doing a pretty good job. It may not be the same as before, but life is change." [Examiner]

Anna Roth hit Hi-Lo BBQ, and we added her commentary to yesterday's Early Word on the subject; click over to see more. [SF Weekly]

Like Jonathan Kauffman before him, Luke Tsai was quite impressed by Paul Canales' new Duende in Uptown Oakland. The restaurant "stands out for the sheer scale, and ballsiness, of its ambition," and "though all of this grandeur would feel empty if the food weren't new and exciting...Duende mostly delivers." Top dishes for Tsai included the "delicious" pebrots farcits, "stunning, decadent" arroz negro, and "uncommonly light and earthy" albondigas. The only downside is the price tag: "For all its virtues, Duende is a fairly expensive restaurant. [The small plates] aren't dainty, [but] a solo diner would need to order at least two or three to cobble together a full meal." [EBX]


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1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707