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Bauer Cracks the Whip on Millenium; Roth is Reduced to Getting a Big Mac

Plus, Tsai is charmed by Overland and Kane tries to relive Outside Lands at Woodhouse Fish Co.

Amy's Drive Thru
Amy's Drive Thru
Amy's Drive Thru

Well, it became quickly clear that Michael Bauer was not enamored by Millenium, the vegan restaurant that recently moved from SF to Oakland's Rockridge neighborhood. Bauer busted out burn after burn, mainly about how jumbled the flavors were: "the kitchen continues, as it did in its original site, to pile on the ingredients like a wool blanket on spring flowers." He called the Brik Purse "ham-fisted," said that "balance took a backseat to boldness" in the lemongrass coconut curry and that the "flavors fought each other" in the shaved cucumber salad. There were some winners, like the "finely executed" fried squash blossoms and blackberry lattice-crusted pie. But it all took a backseat to the generally overworked food, "lacking" service and "mixed" desserts. 1.5 stars. [Chron]

Bauer also throws it back to Cafe Jacqueline this week, which opened in 1979 and has been whipping up 100 made-to-order souffles a night ever since. Owner Jacqueline Margulis has been in the kitchen nearly every day since then, and the craftswomanship shows, according to Bauer. "There is true artistry in creating a souffle," he wrote, "and Margulis takes it to new heights." He specifically called out the white corn with ginger and garlic lemon souffles as his favorites in the "romantic" restaurant that forces diners to "slow down, enjoy the company and, more importantly, anticipate what's to come." 2.5 stars. [Chron]

When you have a craving for a cheeseburger from McDonald's after eating a meal at a vegetarian restaurant, that's probably not a good thing. Which is how Anna Roth's review of kid-friendly vegetarian fast food joint Amy's Drive Thru ended. To be fair, a Big Mac does fit into her affordable eats column, but it's safe to say that's not what Amy's Kitchen has in mind for its customers. In fact, Roth said that owners Rachel and Andy Berliner want Amy's Drive Thru to "become a nationwide chain of sustainable, organic, vegetarian and GMO-free fast-food restaurants." But according to Roth, "they aren't quite there yet." The veggie burger, while having "fine smoky flavor and spongy texture," "just didn't satisfy in the same way" as a real burger does. The rest of the dishes — burritos, pizza, mac and cheese — "offer better variations on the company's frozen staples," but the vegan versions of them "really began to fall off." And so did the review, as after her Big Mac, Roth felt "the way I do after smoking a cigarette or binging on Cheetos: guilty, unsatisfied, ashamed by my own weakness."[Chron]

Over in the East Bay, Luke Tsai headed down to Jack London Square to review Overland this week, which somehow still managed to win him over despite food that was not "quite interesting enough to merit a special visit on its own." That’s not the point of Overland, Tsai argued, instead that it’s "more about hospitality and having fun," of which there are plenty of ways with "country karaoke on Tuesdays, line dancing on Thursdays and Fridays, and, often, live shows on the weekends." If you have to eat, Tsai recommended the St. Louis-style cracker crust pizzas as the best thing on the menu, which turned comical when he followed that up with the asterisk that they’re only being offered for another month. Otherwise go for the "tasty" pulled pork sandwich or "dense, puck-like," yet likeable stuffed burgers. The "down-home ease" all worked for Tsai in the end "against a backdrop of self-serious Bay Area restaurants at which every last garnish is artisanally scratch-made." [East Bay Express]

Overwhelmed by the food choices at Outside Lands, Peter Kane headed to Woodhouse Fish Co. for "the food many festival-goers seemed to love most." Yet when he headed over to the restaurant's brick-and-mortar location, what he found was puzzling compared with its festival reputation. "It's not the world's greatest restaurant, but it's very good, the salient characteristics being generosity with the seafood and a deft handling of the deep fryer," he said. He particularly enjoyed the "killer" clam chowder, "superb" cioppino and dreamy fish tacos, though the "overcooked" sockeye salmon was "a bust." With the food mostly being a thumbs up, Kane was left "a little confused by Woodhouse's low profile," writing it should instead "be a lunch powerhouse." [SF Weekly]