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Bauer Satisfied at Zazie; Unterman Loves Maruya

[Photo: Zazie/Facebook]

Bauer revisited Cole Valley go-to Zazie for his update review this week, noting that the restaurant's 20+ years in business give it "the feel of a place that has been around for a while." Though often crowded and cramped, "the attitude is as convivial as the neighborhood," and "the menu offers solid items that keep people coming back," like the chicken liver pate, mussels, "tender" lamb tagine and "very satisfying" rabbit in mustard sauce. Though some dishes were misses and the restaurant "may not be a reason to cross town and struggle with parking," "if you want to understand the vibe of a neighborhood, Zazie captures its spirit." Two stars. [Chron]

While Anna Roth sampled CUESA's farm tours, Patricia Unterman visited Maruya, where "the esthetic throughout–food, tableware, ambience– evokes nature, the season and serenity in an oh so Japanese marriage of form and function." Here, "cooks and diners perform an intimate little culinary dance separated only by a cypress counter," and "by the end of a visit, these chefs have figured out what you want before you do." The fish is "pristine and vibrant in texture and flavor," with unusual offerings like the "firm, delicate" horse mackerel, "sweet and nutty" geoduck clam and "fantastic" live pink shrimp. All told, "Maruya is very Japanese, very private, yet exhilaratingly personal once you are admitted. English aside, it's like being in Tokyo." [Unterman on Food]

Alex Hochman indulged in all his Fremont-based food fantasies at the new San Francisco location of De Afghanan Kabob House. Here, he found the "undisputed stars of the show" to be the kabobs, like the "impossibly juicy" char-broiled, orange-hued hunks of chicken breast and "equally luscious" tri-tip tekka kabob. A head-to-heard comparison of the chaplee kabob and both the Fremont and SF locations gave the newcomer a slight lead, with kabobs that were "a bit moister with a more pronounced fiery kick." The new location is set to save Hochman "some serious gas money." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai checked out Crossburgers, the new Oakland burger joint that's got "a handful of farmers'-market-driven, Slow Food-style embellishments" like kale slaw, seasonal soups, and Niman Ranch hot dogs. An "appealing playfulness" to the menu draws nearby office workers, but as for the burgers, they were merely "pretty good," with every burger Tsai ordered arriving medium-well — "gray all the way through and, frankly, a little bit dry." The cuban sandwich was also a miss, with a a "dry and exceedingly peppery" filling, but Tsai loved the "simply phenomenal" black-eyed pea chili and "excellent" fries, calling the combo a "guilty-pleasure lunch." [EBX]

Maruya

2931 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103 415-503-0702 Visit Website

Zazie

941 Cole Street, , CA 94117 (415) 564-5332 Visit Website

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