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Bauer Still Into Cupola's Prix Fixe

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[Photo: Gastronomique en Vogue]

The Bauer Power Hour has raved in the past about Cupola Pizzeria's "Feast of All Feasts" menu, which is a steal at $30 per person, all-inclusive. Now that chef Christian Hermsdorf has trotted off to Jones, he checked back in with Mark Tennison, the former sous chef who's running the joint, and was happy with the results: "the food was very good," from "simple and satisfying" pastas to a "meal in itself" of fava bean bruschetta, and for the price, and despite qualms about the mall vibe extending to the restaurant itself, it was good enough to merit 2.5 stars. [Chron]

The reviewer wheel continues to turn at the Examiner, and critic #3 in the new quartet, Alex Hochman, is up at bat. Hochman is an aficionado of Jewish deli fare, and made a beeline to Shorty Goldstein's, where he was mostly pleased with the "energy and care" put into dishes like "out-of-this-world" latkes and "seriously old-school" stuffed cabbage, not to mention the speedy service. But he's underwhelmed by the "dull, unsturdy" Cinderella Bakery rye accompanying the dishes, and his "near-exemplary" pastrami is ruined by too much pepper; diners are advised to go for the "better and more consistent" corned beef. Overall, it's "a welcome addition to the downtown lunch scene, especially for deli-starved East Coast transplants." [Examiner]

Jonathan Kauffman did double duty this week at two very different establishments: Hutong (otherwise known as the revamped Betelnut) and Heyday (the new FiDi takeout lunch spot from a Chez Panisse Cafe alum). At Hutong, he wasn't entirely impressed by the "unfocused" menu and its "righteous jumble of pan-Asianness," but dishes like "awesome lamb belly" and snap peas with Chinese bacon symbolized Alexander Ong's "newfound playfulness," which he deems "a path worth following." Meanwhile, Heyday's dishes demonstrate "quietly impressive, clean and almost minimalist" flavors, including the "redeemed noontime staple" of the turkey sandwich and an excellent kale salad. Both restaurants earn the "notable" rating of one out of three stars. [Tasting Table]

Luke Tsai is off to Richmond to review Assemble, the new restaurant at the Craneway Pavilion, but encounters a curious phenomenon: despite being able to "scarcely imagine a team with a better pedigree" and deeming the concept "a neat wrinkle on comfort food," the flavors of the dishes were "strangely timid," from a "bland" chili to a "very, very bland" cheesesteak to an "incredibly dry" club sandwich. There were a handful of winners, though, including "wonderful, smoky, soupy" gumbo and the "premium ingredients" in the chicken pot pie. "Here's to hoping that the chefs will work on adding bolder flavors, so that more of the food stands up to the loveliness of the setting." [EBX]

Finally, there's a new critic on the beat: four-year-old Desmond Appelgren, who The Bold Italic took over to Mission Chinese Food for a six-dish tasting affair. The enthusiastic young eater adored the salt-cod fried rice and the egg-egg noodle, but didn't think too highly of the tea-smoked eel, and ended up scraping his tongue with a napkin after a bite of the tiki pork belly. Now that his anonymity's compromised, restaurants might want to keep an action figure or two on hand to win over this discerning junior Anton Ego. [The Bold Italic]

Cupola Pizzeria

845 Market Street 4th Floor Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94103

Hutong

2030 Union Street, San Francisco, Ca 94123 415 929 8855

Mission Chinese Food

2234 Mission Street, , CA 94110 (415) 863-2800 Visit Website

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