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Bauer Hits Tasting Menus; Roth Savors Great China

[Photo: Great China/Facebook]

Bauer took the week off from a full review, but posted some observations on both The Restaurant at Meadowood's 11-course tasting menu and Michael Mina's 4-course tasting menu lunch. At Meadowood, he found a "seamless blending" of the "amazing bounty" of spring, with "more Asian techniques and ingredients than in years past," including yogurt with shisho and umeboshi plums and bavette with koji rice. Michael Mina's lunch offered "a good deal for $55," as well as a "way to slow down and relax" in the middle of the workday. Without wine, lunch lasted an hour and change, and Bauer "felt pampered by the service and the meticulously crafted food," including "one of the best examples [of tuna tartare] to be found." [Inside Scoop]

Anna Roth checked in at Berkeley's Great China to assess how the popular Chinese spot has recovered after a devastating January 2012 fire. She was happy to find a restaurant that "shows no signs of having lost anything along the way." Great China has retained its original chefs and most of its staff to "once again become the Chinese restaurant that Berkeley residents knew and loved," with food to match the strong appeal of the neighborhood restaurant. From the popular Peking duck to the "textural delight" of the double-skin noodles to the "soft and dusky" Ma po tofu, Great China is "can reassure you when you're feeling blue and challenge you when you're feeling adventurous." [SF Weekly]

Cynthia Salaysay visited Joo Mak, a new Asian pub in the Richmond that left her "lethargic after over-indulgence, disoriented by sugary K-pop — and willing to repeat the experience." The menu spans South Korean, Japanese and Hawaiian cuisines, but "it's hard to go wrong" with the Korean options, like "delicately crispy" Korean-style fried chicken, "unique" kimchee and pork pancake and "pitch-perfect" deokbokki. Though "there were misfires in other parts of the menu," Joo Mak is "an affordable option" as izakayas go, "with plenty to pique your curiosity." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai investigated the Caribbean fare at newish spot Kingston 11, where the friendly service is the first thing you notice. "This is a place where everyone is made to feel welcome," writes Tsai, and "the food ... is some of the most memorable I've had this year." Here, signature jerk chicken had a "succulence and the deep smoky flavor" that made its $14 price tag "a steal," and the curried goat with "lush chunks" of "just fatty enough" meat in a "fantastic" coconut-milk-based curry sauce was a major favorite. Though there's a selection of craft cocktails on offer, Tsai found the house-made non-alcoholic beverages "too tempting to pass up," including the "burn-your-throat" ginger beer and the "gingery" sorrel. With a vibe that's "equally enjoyable" as the food, the diverse offering of Kingston 11 "rings true." [EBX]

The Restaurant at Meadowood

900 Meadowood Lane, , CA 94574 (707) 967-1205 Visit Website

Great China

2190 Bancroft Way, Berkeley CA