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Michael Bauer Talks About Food, Says Nothing In Three-Star The Bywater Review

Plus, a roundup of the week's other critical reviews

The Bywater's Oysters Rock-a-fella.
The Bywater's Oysters Rock-a-fella.
Patricia Chang

Profound restaurant critic Michael Bauer got as descriptive as usual in his review this week, which reads like a regurgitation of the menu at The Bywater, chef David Kinch’s (Manresa) new New Orleans-themed restaurant in Los Gatos. We learn about 14 of the dishes on The Bywater’s menu (including pricing), which is only a few shy of everything on offer. It would be faster for you to just look at the menu, since Bauer’s closest comment to actual criticism was to call the flavors in the Oysters Rock-a-fella "phenomenal," a descriptor that reveals nothing about the actual taste of the dish. It goes on in the same manner:

"I’m still dreaming about the po boy ($19): dozens of perfectly cooked cornmeal-dusted shrimp on a soft, buttered and toasted bun dressed with shredded lettuce and mayonnaise."

"They also offer oysters ($19) and hot links ($15)."

"The pork chop ($28) looks like it could double as a billy club; the hunk of meat is enhanced with boudin and served on a bed of black-eyed peas."

"Instead of serving green tomatoes ($14) sliced and fried, the Bywater versions are chunked and served in a broth with anchovies and boiled egg."

When Bauer finally describes a dish, the red snapper courtbouillon, it’s still confounding: "The flavors are as intense as I remembered from my trips to New Orleans, but with a gentle roundness and subtle floral quality that give a fresh impression."

Shallow dish descriptions aside, he loved The Bywater and everything about it, from the food to the service to the decor, calling it a "pure pleasure" (the only exception being the long waits for a table). 3 stars. [The Chron]


The Elsewhere: Anna Roth and Peter Kane both had not very nice things to say this week, Roth at Thoughts Style Cuisine Showroom and Kane at The Perennial. Nice guy Luke Tsai was sweet on Aztecali, an Oakland taqueria.