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Bauer Finds 'Everyman' Food at BDK; Kane Deems Kronnerburger Superior to All Other Burgers

Plus, Tsai feasts on roasted food at Nick and Aron's and Hochman isn't impressed with Jersey's street cred.

Patricia Chang

This week, Michael Bauer checked out BDK, the glossy new tavern in the Hotel Monaco. When plans to surfaced to replace the 20 year-old Grand Café with BDK (named after Bill Kimpton, founder of the Kimpton Hotel Group, not the serial killer BDK), Bauer felt that "it was a loss." However, Bauer admits that "hotel executives did it right," hiring Ken Fulk to design the interior and chef Heather Terhune to head up the kitchen. Terhune's food has "an everyman appeal," offering generous portions and familiar dishes with an "added element of distinction." Bauer seemed to enjoy his meal there, though "for every great dish...we found another that left us wanting." The chianti-braised pot roast was a winner, but the braised lamb poutine was "soggy" and "quantity over quality." He kept returning to the cocktail-friendly Nibbles and Nosh section of the menu, pairing snacks like truffled deviled eggs and mini truffle butter burger, until finally admitting that "some of the best flavor combinations are in the small plates category." Additionally, "very good salads" and "imaginative sides" bolster up the menu, though the dessert category included a "wan" banana pudding. Ultimately, though a hotel restaurant with hotel service, Bauer found something for everyone here, even satisfying "Aunt Maude's taste... for pot roast." 2.5 Stars. [CHRON]

Across the Bay, Peter Kane made a trip to the much-anticipated Kronnerburger in Piedmont, the former pop-up that received "pan-galactic raves." The opening of the brick-and-mortar location "was a long time coming," and though Kane claimed that he didn't want to "pick at a scab that has probably long since disappeared thanks to Vitamin E and burger grease," he brought up the sore subject of the unavoidable, partial removal of a mural on the side of the building anyway. But drama aside, Kane agrees with the general consensus, which is that Chris Kronner's burgers are "different from and superior to virtually every other burger out there." The fries are "objectively fantastic," and though Kane isn't a big fan of onion rings, he found Kronner's addictive. The wine list is "pretty extensive," even for "a burger joint," and the cocktails received high marks. And since Kane's SF Weekly review budget was bigger than Kronnerburger's menu required, he got his whole team in on the feast, feeding a cadre of freelance contributors and writers in the communal back booth. From the whole crew, Kronnerburger received a "unanimous thumb's up." [SF Weekly]

And staying within the hotbed of activity that is the East Bay, Luke Tsai visted Nick and Arons, the new restaurant-bakery from co-owners Nick Yapor-Cox and Aron Ford. There Tsai found "one of the best versions of roast chicken [he's] had in a restaurant recently," simply brined, seasoned with herbs de provence and roasted in a very hot oven. The chicken is so good, that Tsai spends almost a paragraph lauding its perfection. He found "simple classics done really well" are the focus, as long as the dish can be cooked in an oven (the main source of heat in the kitchen is a huge, bakery oven). Their pizzas, the "Oakland-style" pies that gained a cult following at the duo's first restaurant, Nick's Pizza, "[are] as good as ever," but with more toppings and options. Tsai found the restaurant-bakery combo to be a successful partnership, offering "the kinds of dishes that achieve their peak deliciousness when they're cooked in an oven." [EBX]

Back in San Francisco, Alex Hochman gave Mitchell and Steven Rosenthal's pizza restaurant, Jersey, a try, in hopes of finding promised "true East Coast pizza [in San Francisco]." However, the menu was full of ahi tuna confit arancini, Dungeness crab and other NorCal cuisine, leaving Hochman feeling "more SOMA than Secaucus." Though the meatball sandwich and chicken Parmesan sandwich transported Hochman back to New Jersey, dishes like burrata and celery hearts brought him crashing back down through the marine layer. A floppy "California style" pizza was "gummy" and "sparsely sauced" and the rushed service resulted in tough, heat lamp-tortured version of the Trenton pie. Hochman found redemption in the New Yorker pizza, though the crust couldn't "hold up under the glorious meat fest." Hochman concludes that "Jersey doesn't even have the most 'Jersey' style food on its own street," and ends his review with a question, wondering if perhaps "ownership got frightened by our city's longest tenured critic's shadow" and "tailored the food to his sensibilities." [SF Examiner]