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Week in Reviews: Felch Wipes Out at Liholiho, Bauer Returns to Boxing Room

An alternative take on Ravi Kapur's new Hawaiian-inspired restaurant and Bauer heads straight for the cocktail menu in Hayes Valley.

Boxing Room, now with booze.
Boxing Room, now with booze.

With the Chronicle handing down a three-star review of Liholiho Yacht Club on Sunday, SF Weekly's Trevor Felch also dropped by Ravi Kapur's new spot to provide an alternative point of view this week. Where Bauer used the opportunity to wonder "what is California cuisine," Felch took another tack and expressed his disappointment at the lack of Hawaiian specialties. "Poi. Guava. Lomi lomi salmon... None is found at the Hawaiian-influenced Liholiho Yacht Club," where the space, "won't remind anyone of Smuggler's Cove." (Which, by the way, steers more Caribbean.)

Despite some trouble reading his charts, Felch is full-speed ahead on Kapur's poke that "speaks fully of Hawaii" with ruby fish and "just a dab of sesame oil and sriracha aioli." He's also on board with the steamed buns featuring, "slightly fatty beef tongue and a spark plug of kimchi," a Caesar salad enhanced with bonito dressing, and the "clever" Baked Hawaii with pineapple ice cream and vanilla chiffon. On the other hand, he just couldn't navigate the oyster and beef carpaccio wraps, a "one-note chopped salad of squid, tripe, cabbage, peanuts, and fried shallots," or the "chewy" octopus with "bland" potatoes. But Felch ends on a Bauer-esque note, hoping the restaurant will see some smoother sailing in the future, based on his own experience dining at Prospect.

And speaking of Bauer: the critic used his midweek review this week to check out the newly liquored-up menu at Hayes Valley's Boxing Room. The Absinthe Group's cajun spot got some menu tweaks from chef Justin Simoneaux, but the real exciting news here is that you can finally order a Sazerac or a Vieux Carre to cut through the fat of your fried alligator or crispy boudin balls. Bauer is (still) a fan of pretty much everything Simoneaux can throw in the deep fryer or put on top of an oyster. He does not, however, enjoy the crab-stuffed gulf flounder (after readily admitting he is not a fan of stuffed fish). On the other hand, the rabbit and dumplings are "perfect for our cooler climate." Although the beignets were a little limp, overall "the restaurant has proved itself over the past three years." Two-and-a-half stars for food and two-and-a-half stars overall.

Liholiho Yacht Club

3560 18th Street, , CA 94110 (415) 589-7266 Visit Website

Boxing Room

399 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 Visit Website

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