Baumé, arguably this year's most notable removal. [Photo: TripAdvisor]
It's the most Bauer-ful time of the year: the Chronicle food critic dropped his annual list of the top 100 restaurants in the Bay Area yesterday, and as always, there were shakeups. After announcing the 21 new additions to the list on Friday, Bauer gave us the list of removals today, with some receiving notes on why, while others remained mysteriously blank. "Each year the bar gets raised, and with new places gaining the momentum it's hard for established places to keep up and stay fresh," he notes. When possible, we tried to add the relevant check-in review, though some of the spots that got bounced didn't receive one. Here now, the annotated removals from the Top 100 restaurants.
· Absinthe: Mystery removal!
· Adesso, Oakland: "I still love the salumi, but the addition of pizza has weakened the focus," writes Bauer. Here's the review.
· Ame: Mystery removal!
· Baker and Banker: Mystery removal!
· Bar Agricole: Nixed for the chef change from Brandon Jew to Reina Talanoa.
· Baumé, Palo Alto: Mystery removal! And arguably the most significant bounce on the list, given its two Michelin stars.
· Bistro Aix: "The food is still good, but the exacting skill that made it so compelling in the past was missing," Bauer noted back in December.
· Betelnut: As expected, the perennial is gone. "It was Hutong for several months, but now it's returned to Betelnut," Bauer notes coyly. Because he had nothing at all to do with that.
· Chapeau: Nixed for remodeling.
· Claudine: Bauer loved this place back in January, but may have been dissuaded by February's concept change. (Still, weird for him to not mention that.)
· Corso, Berkeley: Mystery removal! Bauer kept it on last year's list after opening chef Rodrigo da Silva left, but it must have underperformed this time. The poor showing at sister restaurant Rivoli (also nixed this year) likely didn't help matters.
· Cyrus, Healdsburg: Closed, having lost its lease.
· Dosa: Mystery removal! Bauer loved the revamp on Valencia last year, so this one's a headscratcher.
· Incanto: Got a bad review back in February.
· Masa's: Closed. "It had been at the top of its game for 30 years," Bauer writes.
· Morimoto, Napa: Mystery removal!
· Range: He wasn't feeling the simplified menu and price bump when he visited in October.
· Rivoli, Berkeley: "Whereas I once looked forward to driving to Rivoli, I'm now much less inclined," Bauer wrote in March, citing some muddled dishes.
· Santé, Sonoma: Nixed for undergoing a remodel during the top 100 period (it reopened last month).
· Va de Vi, Walnut Creek: The chef shuffle from Shane McAnelly to Andy Phillips hurt this perennial: "It might be time for a menu remodel to bring back a more diverse selection; for a global menu, the food now feels strangely provincial," Bauer wrote in March.
· Willi's Wine Bar, Santa Rosa: Another perennial that finally met the axe, due to an unpleasant visit in March: "It's still good, and still worth a recommendation, but the fresh excitement I've experienced other times was missing."
And here's the complete Top 100 list, with new additions in bold. The Chron made us remove the list; go buy yourself one of those paywall subscriptions.