The Instagram revolution-inspiring San Francisco Chronicle critic Michael Bauer took no prisoners at Mid-Market's Cadence this week, granting the restaurant two stars but lighting it on fire in the process. His overwhelming emotion was confused, which he applied to both the decor and chef Joey Elenterio’s food. Here are some of his most biting lines:
- “I felt like I was stepping back 25 years when walking into Cadence.”
- “The dining room seems to prize flash over function. The column next to the waiter’s station is filled with electrical plugs at eye level for seated diners; the outlets also show behind the candle-like lights, which detracts from the look. It seems that functional design has been lost in the glitz. On each visit, I left pondering the various elements of the interior and never could understand the vision.”
- “At times the food can be as confusing as the interior … After three meals, I was confused by the proliferation of influences on the menu.”
- “Another main course featured a slab of short rib meat that needed more time in the miso braising liquid to render the beef tender. Served with forbidden rice, fried red taro and toasted green onions, that dish, like some others, illustrated that in the attempt to appear cutting edge a chef might throw in an ingredient or two that doesn’t bring anything to the party.”
- “Unfortunately, desserts are a major letdown … It felt like everything was a garnish.”
- “The Cadence menu ends up feeling like a patchwork quilt waiting to be sewn together.”
To be fair, Bauer had nice things to say about the service and some dishes like the whole trout, rabbit agnolotti, braised baby beets and “beautifully cooked” rib eye. And at the end, the restaurant still got two stars, which is a decent showing. “I appreciated many aspects of Cadence,” Bauer concluded. “There are some striking design elements and some fully realized dishes — but it still feels like a concept searching for a core.”
On the other hand, though, SF Weekly’s (seemingly only) writer Peter Kane had a very different take on Cadence, where he thought “the food is just as visually compelling as the unique interior.” It was a very positive write-up on the restaurant from the Maven team.
The Elsewhere: Bauer also returned to Rasa in Burlingame to call it “the Bay Area’s best Indian restaurant;” Josh Sens awarded Little Gem two stars; Luke Tsai liked Cafe Eugene, but didn’t find it particularly Pacific Northwest-y.