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Michael Bauer is Still Stuck on Fly Trap's Charm

Also: Pete Kane finds "elevated gym food" at Prosper and Luke Tsai takes a tour of the Middle East at Zaytoon

Fly Trap
Fly Trap
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Fly Trap

The Chronicle Food + Home section was a little lighter this weekend with no Sunday restaurant review, but dear Bauer did revisit SoMa mainstay Fly Trap for a mid-week review last week. After nearly 8 years under Hoss Zare, Fly Trap is now in the capable hands of partner/bar manager Valen West and her chef Jose Hernandez, who mostly stays true to Zare’s Persian influence with items like a hummus trio or the pistachio meatballs. While much of the menu is "expected" and "tasted pretty good," Bauer feels as though the menu lacks the focus it once had. Mains like a pan-roasted halibut or roast chicken breast were both overcooked, while a braised short rib suffered from a not-enough-actual-meat problem. Regardless, "it’s the type of restaurant that feels right for the area," Bauer concludes, and it’s a fine place for after work cocktails and some capable (although no particularly cutting-edge) food. Two stars for food, two and a half stars overall.

Prosper

Inside the Market Street Equinox (which also shares its building with a Four Seasons), Pete Kane discovers Prosper, a somewhat under-the-radar restaurant serving "elevated gym food." While there are some protein-only basics for the paleo crowd, there are also some attempts at real meals like fried chicken bao which were "pillowy-soft and quite good" even though they were "presented on a log" for some reason. Kane’s burger (grass-fed, naturally) came out well done when ordered medium-rare, but our critic enjoyed it just the same and all the burger fixins were there in the proper ratios. (It’ll cost you $19 after a $3 add-on of manchego cheese, however.)

The best item, according to Kane, was a $24 order of grilled albacore, "seasonal and hearty" with broccolini and tomatoes — more what you’d expect from a gym restaurant in a Four Seasons. And, to be sure, the most luxurious thing about Prosper is its location above street level on the fourth floor, which is "inherently glamorous" despite the interior’s "wan, pale gray color of corporate wellness."

Zaytoon

In the East Bay, Luke Tsai had a hard time categorizing Zaytoon, a new Middle Eastern spot on Solano Avenue. It’s a little too upscale to be a shawarma joint, but the menu goes deep enough to satisfy the more adventurous diners with some regional specialities in "a wholly unintimidating setting." For some highlight, Tsai points us to the appetizer section: where there’s a "modernized" version of musakhan, kubba fritters that are popular in Syria and pan-fried Arabic nabulsi cheese with a texture somewhere between mozzarella and fried tofu.

The entrées were less exciting and Tsai recommends sticking to the Oasis chain if it’s kebab you want, but he did enjoy the bamia lamb and okra stew. Likewise, the cocktails devised by Jessica Maria of Hotsy Totsy Club provided a pleasant surprise — especially the Sultan’s Iced Tea with mint lemonade and "a heavy dose of arak."

Elsewhere

Bauer reviews Napa. Paolo Lucchesi reviews Ali Bouzari. Ali Bouzari reviews crispiness. Pete Kane says Lao Table might be SF’s most beautiful restaurant.

Zare at Fly Trap

606 Folsom Street, San Francisco, CA 94107 Visit Website

Prosper

, San Francisco, CA 94103

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