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Bauer Still Adores Coco500; Roth Finds Great Thai

Coco500 in SOMA. [Photo: Alice Q. Foodie]

Though he wasn't blown away by Loretta Keller's cafeteria-like Seaglass, Michael Bauer continues to be impressed with the fare at her flagship, Coco500. "Coco500 is as good as ever. In fact, each time I return I wonder why I waited so long," he says, noting the famed deep-fried green beans ("the best I've had"), duck liver crostini and beef cheeks that "can't be replicated anywhere else," and decor that evokes the "sexy cabin of a luxury yacht." (We'd hate to see the unsexy cabin of a luxury yacht.) New dishes, like a "perfect for summer" halibut, also shine, and service like a "finely oiled machine" wins his heart. "Coco500 exudes a warm, modern vibe and makes me marvel at how a restaurant can still feel current, even after eight years in business." Three stars. [Chron]

While Bauer glories in the past, Anna Roth has a new discovery in the Tenderloin's Zen Yai Thai, where the boat noodles are so good, they "put me in a trance. I lose all awareness of my surroundings when I'm eating them." Look beyond the pad thai, and you'll find authentic dishes that "give S.F. darling Lers Ros a run for its money," like deep-fried wings "that deserve to be on the short list of the best chicken wings in the city," "intensely pleasurable" duck curry, and "obscenely ripe" mango with sticky rice. An added bonus is that it "isn't a dive" and is "never packed like Lers Ros often is." In conclusion, it's a "decadent meal," and she'll be back for more. [SF Weekly]

Over at Tasting Table, Jonathan Kauffman delves into the salon menu at Saison, which has finally settled down after all those changes. He likes the "silkiest braised abalone [he's] ever tasted," and a "high-lofted" buckwheat souffle, all nicely paired with Mark Bright's wine selections. "Epiphanies are plenty, but it's not quite dinner...this is a dining experience to be treated as a luxe snack. Though every bite is exquisite, a $150, four-course meal may leave you craving a postprandial PB&J." [Tasting Table]

There's a bit of a disconnect for Cynthia Salaysay at Sssiso in Japantown, which "strives for an elegant dining experience, but is best for long nights of drinking." The Korean fare includes two "excellent hangover cures" in the whole chicken soup with red dates, ginseng, and chestnuts, and the "utterly satisfying" kimchee bokkumbap with bacon. Add in "haunting" garlic noodles with crispy tofu, and it's hard to resist, even though service is "casual and lacking in experience" and you'll be eating "in a gleaming room while "Jeopardy" is projected above you." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai thinks Molcajete is "the kind of quirky little family-run restaurant you'll find up and down International Boulevard," except for one thing: it's in Uptown Oakland, and "an ambitious restaurant— one that aspires to a certain kind of polish." That's easy to see in the "deft, light touch" of dishes like "ethereally smooth" refried beans, "airy and delicate" masa, and "fragrant, wonderfully light" tortillas. "Each dish has a cared-for quality; nothing seems like a's hard to think of a better Mexican restaurant in Uptown Oakland." [EBX]


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