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Bauer Slams Navio; Gore Iffy on Frutilandia

Navio's dining room. [Photo: Navio]

It's pretty rare to see a full-on pan from the ever-equivocating Mr. Bauer, but his review of Navio, the new restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay that underwent a lavish million-dollar renovation, is as close as you'll get. "Diners expect to pay a lot in an upscale hotel restaurant, but this one gives resort dining a bad name," he says, noting the ludicrous "$21 appetizers and $40 main courses" and an $18 Manhattan "made with Jack Daniel's, loads of standard-issue ice, and a 1960s-era canned cherry." Food is just as bad, from a cast-iron casserole that burned fingers to squid that were "slimy and tasted as if they hadn't been properly cleaned." Overall, "The view overlooking the ocean is spectacular, but beyond that I can't think of another reason to go to Navio." 1.5 stars, and one for food. [Chron]

From million-dollar views to 24th Street dives: the Examiner's Molly Gore "like[s] the look of El Nuevo Frutilandia, which feels like the "Puerto Rican Tourism Bureau of the 1960s got drunk on Skittles," but isn't as crazy about the "bland" mofongo, "too high" price point, and "slow and sometimes forgetful" service. It's best to stick with fried appetizers like tostones, papas rellenas, and alcapurria, all perfect with a beer or two. [Examiner]

Anna Roth is road-tripping it this week, with summer stops at La Casa Rosa in San Juan Bautista and Duarte's in Pescadero. She flips for La Casa Rosa's famous California Casserole, which is "basically a tamale pie...The dish's rustic appearance and simple ingredients belie its complex flavor." Too bad the "weirdness of the surroundings," pink and doll-adorned, "feels more like an antique shop than a bustling restaurant." Meanwhile, Duarte's gets high marks for the "deeply satisfying" cream of artichoke soup, but the "tragically dry" fish is best avoided in favor of a slice of pie with a "rich, flaky, bronzed crust." [SF Weekly]

Amid the classic Asian fare on Clement Street, the Chron's Janny Hu is on the hunt for something a little more fusion-y, and she finds it at newish Sakesan, which boasts "superior" sushi with "fresh" fish and "a good selection," as well as "juicy" chicken katsu and "well-fried" agedashi tofu. She digs the "modern and elegant" space, with its numerous nooks, and the "attentive and friendly" service, and despite disappointing desserts, she'll be back. [Chron]

Finally, Luke Tsai is hunting for comfort at recently-opened Next Door Restaurant in Berkeley, where chef Sharon Lorraine Anderson's global dishes "aren't going to push anyone outside their comfort zone." Still, they're tasty, from a spinach stir-fry that's "the kind of simple, Asian-inspired dish a health-conscious cook might whip up at home" to a bevy of Southern plates that include a "nicely grilled" pork chop, "airy and decadent" mashed sweet potatoes, and "smooth, showstopping" butterscotch pudding. Service and pricing need a little tweaking, but overall, it's "mostly a success." [EBX]


1 Miramontes Point Rd, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019