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Bauer Grants RN74 3.5 Stars in 'Dramatic Comeback'

RN74. [Photo: Niall Kennedy/Flickr]

Once a major Bauer favorite, Michael Mina's RN74 fell out of favor in 2011, when Bauer observed that it was "losing its unique personality" and felt "a little rote." But after new chef Adam Sobel publicly requested a re-review, Bauer made the return trip, crediting Sobel and new GM Lucas Riemens with a big turnaround. Though dishes are pricey, Bauer was "happy to pay the fare for Sobel's food," and a return visit "confirmed the depth of Sobel's talent." "Subtle" agnolotti impressed, seared salmon showed off a "precise presentation and logical combination of ingredients" and escargot "was one of the few times the ingredient hasn't proved disappointing." The interior design "has worn well, and it feels as fresh as when it opened," and waiters "now look as polished as the interior." "It's truly a dramatic comeback," Bauer notes in his blog post, "and I hope RN74 is here to stay...RN74 is once again on my list of Bay Area favorites." 3.5 stars (up from 2.5). [Chron]

Anna Roth skipped a full review this week, but she did give her thoughts on new FiDi grab n' go spot Proper Food, noting that though her octopus salad with garbanzo beans made for "a pleasant-enough lunch," "when I'm paying $13 for a salad, I'm probably going somewhere like Mixt Greens or The Plant where it's made to order and I can call more of the shots." [SF Weekly]

Cynthia Salaysay checked out new North Beach pizza spot Il Casaro, and found that "there are other, far better, reasons to visit" than just the fresh mozzarella. The pizza diavola "was a spicier, perkier, lighter and more delicious take on a pepperoni pizza," and, "while most sandwiches hold little romance," the panuozzo (a pizza-dough sandwich) got the job done. Though still new, "already there's a good neighborhood following for the well-blistered, well-tended pizzas, and the place feels vibrant." All in all, "Il Casaro is a great neighborhood spot." [Examiner]

Luke Tsai visited "cozy, tapestry-bedecked" Aria Grill & Cuisine in this week's review. Off all the kabob spots, he calls it "the one I keep going back to," noting that "here the kitchen will actually cook the meat to your preference" in the "excellent" Afghan dishes. Lamb kebab came "cooked to a perfect medium-rare as requested," and the chapli kebab "was even better." Other Afghan specialties included the "incredibly addictive" Quabili (or kabuli) pallow, and "where Aria excels" is in its various steamed dumplings. [EBX]


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