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Bauer Forked Into Excellence at Octavia; Tsai Ate a 'Burger for the End of Civilization' at Kronnerburger

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Plus, Bauer finds that Lolinda has hit its groove.

Patricia Chang

For this week's Update Review, Michael Bauer returned to Lolinda, the Mission's Latin-inspired steakhouse, after a two year-hiatus. And this time, he found that the large, "always packed" follow-up to Starbelly and Beretta had "found its groove." With the exception of a cold-hearted hostess, service had also improved to match the food. Dishes to share included a fresh hearts of palm salad and grilled artichokes with a lemony aioli; meats come in a variety of cuts and sizes, including a 26 oz prime ribeye for $74. Overall, Bauer found that the restaurant has truly hit its stride under chef Alejandro Morgan, upping the star count by half a star. 2.5 Stars. [Chron]

For his main review, Bauer headed to Melissa Perello's Pacific Heights restaurant, Octavia. As his first order of business, Bauer is stunned by Perello's deviled egg, a subtle stunner that's been soft cooked, bathed in Fresno chile relish and spices. Combined with Perello's other dishes, Bauer was left "pondering how such common ingredients can create such incredible sensations." An onion soubise tasted "as light as a billowy cloud looks," while the first bite of avocado, grilled beets and Persian cucumbers left him exhilarated. However out of all the many dishes he tried on each visit, Bauer found that "There's not a single one [he] wouldn't order again." Even a loud, three-bottles-of-wine-deep group beside him was silenced by Perello's skillful dishes as they "forked into quail," and a risotto with herbs, rapini and browned onions. Bauer himself "forked" into a version of angel's food cake with a buttermilk blueberry sorbet that was so good, he declared it could become a signature dish. Ultimately, he found a follow-up to Perello's Frances with good service, generous portions and casual feel that is "blazing a different, but equally exciting, path." Three Stars. [Chron]

In the East Bay, Luke Tsai offered his opinions on Kronnerburger, the universally lauded restaurant from chef Chris Kronner. Despite the many burger options in the area, Kronnerburger stands out as "more than just some burger joint," with an "unfussy burger that's meant to be enjoyed rather than analyzed." Tsai notes that "this is no restaurant for diners who want to exercise restraint," offering texturally perfect fries and onion rings alongside a Mangalitsa Pigburger topped with white barbecue sauce and pickled pig skin. Kronner "has reinvented diner standards with flair," including wings with a chicken-fat hot sauce and a "compelling wine, beer and cocktail list." A housemade orange cream soda with vanilla ice creamwas so good that Tsai worried he might never try anything else (though he did manage to try a "wonderful" fudgy chocolate peanut butter malt pie). And though he missed the "free-form, improvised quality" of Kronner's early pop-ups, Tsai is looking forward to "seeing what other tricks he has up his sleeves." [EBX]