Inside 1226 Washington.
Carey Sweet posted a review from the North Bay beat this week, after a visit to Calistoga's "charming" 1226 Washington left her with just a 50 percent satisfaction rating. "Ingredients are first-rate," she notes, but "1226 needs seasoning - as in, from the spice rack - and experience." In dishes like the pan-seared chicken breast and panko-crusted fish of the day, "the plates were attractively presented, but the flavor was flat." "Bright" ginger-habanero soup, bubble and squeak and stuffed breast of pheasant all impressed, but a "soggy" grilled cheese sandwich was a let-down. All in all, Sweet sees promise in 1226, but begs for more daring flavors. "A lot could be fixed simply with salt." Two stars. [Chron]
Anna Roth skipped a restaurant review this week in order to explore the city's newest food delivery options. Postmates and Caviar, two services which amount to Lyft for your food, gave Roth two different experiences (Postmates "seems the most useful," with more restaurants to choose from). More interesting to Roth are the services that make food fresh to order, like Sprig, whose hearty meals, quick delivery time and reasonable pricing were "basically magic." The same couldn't be said about Munchery's delivery, which Roth had to heat up herself (with no microwave) and which, once warm, was "just okay" and felt like Roth was "eating leftovers of a not-so-great meal I'd made myself." But with the influx of tech workers in the city, "companies delivering fast, healthy dinners like these will no doubt thrive." [SF Weekly]
Jonathan Kauffman paid a visit to the month-old Q's Falafel House in Oakland in a quest for Afghan beef-filled mantu. "Blanketed first in yogurt, then with spoonfuls of tomato-vegetable stew, and decorated with bright green flecks of dried mint," these "pyramid-shaped dumplings" boast a "sharp, clean tang" of yogurt, "high chime" of mint and "cumin- and coriander-seasoned ground beef inside." Ordering may take a while, but "devouring the dumplings takes only a moment." [Tasting Table]
Cynthia Salaysay visited Maneelap to get a taste of Thai and Laotian in the Excelsior. There, she found deep-fried quail that came crisp and "sticky with fat," "creamy, luscious, spicy" kao poon and nam kao tod that "delights with its textures and fluctuating flavors." At Maneelap, "there's panache in its bounty of herbs, the continual pops and zings of flavor, the minor chili tingles and the ever-changing textures." [Examiner]
Meanwhile, Luke Tsai headed over to Abigail's Moroccan Cuisine, where Saturday night spells a prix-fixe dinner featuring a "lively belly-dancing performance" and "some of the best-tasting Moroccan food I've encountered in the Bay Area." Lamb and chicken tagines come correct with steamed vegetables atop of a bed of "delicate and flavorful couscous," and "fiery, slightly tangy" house-made harissa hot sauce "made every bite taste at least twice as good."
"$25 for a hearty multi-course dinner, live entertainment, and however much booze you care to drink (as long as you bring it yourself) is tough to beat." [EBX]