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Bauer Finds Oro Inconsistent; Kane Can Barely Afford RN74

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Plus, Luke Tsai visited Drake's Dealership and Anna Roth went to The Fine Mousse.

Patricia Chang

Michael Bauer starts his Oro review with a multi-paragraph price breakdown of nearly the entire menu, basically to point out that he thinks the prices are inconsistent ($46 for a half chicken, but $9 for a small plate), which is a predictor for the rest of his experience. “As much as I loved most of the food at Oro — Jason Fox is one of my favorite chefs — this type of inconsistency foreshadowed other incongruous aspects of the dining experience, particularly the interior,” he wrote. Dishes he enjoyed were the “soft” potato gnocchi, pig ears and the entire blind tasting menu experience; one he didn’t was a “dull” halibut crudo. 2 ½ stars. [The Chron]

Bauer also gave some repeat love to tapas spot Cesar in Berkeley, where the service leaves a lot to be desired, but the “beautiful prepared food and finely crafted cocktails” make up for it. Food like the fries, which he declared are “among the best in the Bay Area,” the “outstanding” grilled Iberian black pork shoulder and “one of the best paellas to be found anywhere.” But, “any joy found in the food is undermined by the service, which at times bordered on hostile.” 2 ½ stars. [The Chron]

Peter Kane visited RN74 to see how new chef Michael Lee Rafidi is faring in the kitchen. The answer? Alright. He enjoyed the fried cauliflower and foie gras parfait, but not so much the escargot croissants. Food was less a focal point in the review than price, which was mentioned throughout the entire article, as RN74 is quite expensive, with dishes like a $100 caviar doughnut, which Kane could not afford on his critic budget. Kane enjoyed his meal, but it sounded like he felt a little like a peasant while eating it. [SF Weekly]

“Come to me, ye cornhole enthusiasts and preachers of the gospel of West Coast IPA, and you will find — in Oakland — a beer garden for every occasion or frame of mind,” Luke Tsai started out in his review this week of Drake’s Dealership in Oakland. While Tsai thinks many breweries can skimp on the food, he finds chef Taylor Smith’s to be top-notch, particularly the New Haven-style pizza, duck confit, soft pretzels and frito pie. The food is better than it needs to be, he argued, especially when what you're there for is to “drink too much beer” and “be loud with your friends.” [East Bay Express]

Anna Roth (the Chronicle’s Eat Up columnist) and Esther Mobley (the Chronicle’s Drink Up columnist) put their mean girl hats on and visited The Fine Mousse, where they delivered scathing critique after critique of the brand-new champagne and fries restaurant in Russian Hill. Mobley respected the breadth of the champagne list, and Roth enjoyed the unusual mayos served alongside the fries, but they (unnecessarily) panned just about everything else. [The Chron]

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