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Bauer Revisits 5A5 Steak Lounge; Roth Drinks at Mikkeller

5A5 Steak Lounge.
5A5 Steak Lounge.
Photo: Jennifer Yin

Bauer reassessed 5A5 Steak Lounge this week and dubbed it "a contender" for one of the top steakhouses in the Bay Area. Four years after being let down by the restaurant's service, Bauer found it's shaped up, becoming "efficient and intuitive almost to the point of being annoyingly solicitous." Chef Allen Chen's Alaskan king crab legs are an "exceptional beginning" to the meal and Bauer loved the "excellent" lamb chops, complementary 'Dueling' tataki, and "interesting" Peach Tea, though the "overly dry" jasmine-tea-smoked chicken and "grossly undercooked" green beans didn't fare so well. He also dug the mid-century vibe, with reptile skin accents and a round dome that "looks as if it could have been a part of a set from the animated TV series 'The Jetsons.'" In conclusion, "It's a steak house, but a steak house with a modern point of view." 2.5 stars. [Chron]

Meanwhile, Anna Roth was down at Mikkeller Bar, where the "convivial, beer-swigging atmosphere" and the "uniformly tasty" food were all sideshows to the main event: the "rare and interesting brews" flowing from the fancy "Flux Capacitor" tap system. Roth enjoyed that "most of the beers are mild, even with their high potency," a pleasant change from Northern California's usual "hop bombs." As for food, chef Michael O'Brien's fare is less Danish than pure California, and decidedly meat-heavy. The assortment of five house-made sausages delighted Roth with "the surprising flavor range of ground meat stuffed in a casing," and the "lil' smokies" (tiny bacon-wrapped hot dogs) furthered that theme. Overall, Roth says, there's a reason the crowds are hovering "like alcoholic hummingbirds" for space at the bar. Although the neighborhood still has "rough edges", Mikkeller could be "the tasty side of urban renewal." [SF Weekly]

Wendy Hector visited Pachino Trattoria & Pizzeria in the Financial District, where a "Martin Scorsese-single-shot-'Goodfellas'-style" entrance leads into this "downright authentic Italian" restaurant. From the "beautifully made crust" on the Neapolitan-style pizzas to the "expertly crafted" housemade pastas, the flavors of old Italy hit home. "Pachino proves that you don't have to brave North Beach to find yourself satisfactorily, if momentarily, steeped in the halcyon, wine-soaked aura of Italy." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai sat down to a prix-fixe, family-style Sunday Supper at Hutch Bar & Kitchen, where chef/owner David King serves up oversized platters of Southern hospitality. Grits take a starring role here, as seen in the "awfully tasty" shrimp and grits and an appetizer take on grits that's rolled and fried, which Tsai called "my favorite preparation of all." A bourbon-cured salmon was "excellent," the raw oysters got "the little things right," and "thick wedges" of custardy banana bread pudding finished off the "vision of abundance" that left Tsai "dreaming of the South." [EBX]

· All Week in Reviews [~ ESF ~]

Mikkeller Bar

34 Mason Street, , CA 94102 (415) 984-0279 Visit Website

5A5 Steak Lounge

244 Jackson St., San Francisco CA