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Bauer Finds 'Perfect' Paella in Berkeley; Roth and Kane Review Alamo Drafthouse

Plus, Bauer also revists Gather and Luke Tsai goes to Brittany Crepes.

La Marcha
La Marcha
Patricia Chang

Michael Bauer, the rockstar of criticsheaded to La Marcha in Berkeley, where "paella is the star." He enjoyed them all, but his favorite was the arroz negro. "The flavors explode in the mouth," he wrote of the sensual dining experience. On the tapas side of the menu, he most enjoyed the chicken wings, patatas bravas, meatballs and octopus. While the food hit its mark, "they miss the finer points of service," like forgetting dishes or reusing dirty menus. 2 ½ stars. [The Chron]

Bauer's been spending a lot of time in Berkeley lately, where he also revisited Gather, which has a new chef in Tu David Phu, and Bauer liked what Phu is cooking up. He "couldn’t resist" the baked oysters with truffle béarnaise, wilted spinach and shaved Jerusalem artichokes, which all came together in a "masterful blend." He thought the "most compelling" entree was the winter barigoule with carrots, mushrooms and cauliflower in parsnip puree with clove-infused vegetable broth. "The surprise star" was the vegan spicy tomato pizza, but he didn’t love the "dried out" chicken or the "unpleasantly rubbery" coconut panna cotta dessert. 2 stars. [The Chron]

The new Alamo Drafthouse theater in the Mission was paid a visit by both Anna Roth and Peter Kane this week. Roth was way into the "tender," "tangy" ribs, "zesty" Brussels sprouts salad and the chain’s famous chips and queso, but not in love with the "seemingly unsalted" pancetta mac & cheese or the "forgettable" burger. It’s all "good enough", though, since "you’ve come to watch a movie, not rhapsodize over a meal," she wrote. Her and Kane were both into the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, with Kane going so far as to say it "left me panting in the dark, in a good way." Neither could taste any kimchi off the kimchi popcorn. They both took time to talk about how "distracting" the concept is, but not distracting enough to not want to go back. [The Chron & SF Weekly]

In 1,241 words, Luke Tsai reviewed a creperie this week. Brittany Crepes in Berkeley has food that, according to Tsai, "will transport diners to the northwestern coast of France." Its buckwheat galettes are "heartier, slightly nuttier" than wheat flour crepes, and the fillings are "simple but very satisfying." He advises you skip the soups and always order the crepes. [East Bay Express]