In the Dogpatch, Michael Bauer checks in on the latest chef to leave the fine dining world chef in order to “go ultra-casual” at Glena's Tacos and Margarita’s. Chef Michael Gaines comes from Manresa and Kin Khao, and despite Glena's short menu, his precise training shows through in the "bright" salsas, the tacos with “high standards,” and the pristine ingredients in the El Guapo little gem salad. While the al pastor "with a touch of pineapple" was Bauer's favorite taco, the fried chicken torta was the real hit of the menu. Bauer’s only complaint was a “fine,” seemingly overpriced churro for dessert, but the restaurant is close enough to his house that he says he plans to make himself a weekend regular. Two and a half stars.
Speaking of fast-casual, Rich Table’s RT Rotisserie spin-off got some glowing words from Pete Kane this week. The chicken-forward, chef-driven restaurant is “at the upper limit” of this new fast-casual category, Kane says, and his four trips ultimately reminded him how “fucking awesome” it is to be a carnivore as he watched the fat drip from the hypnotically roasting chickens. Those birds are “a terrific deal” at $19 for a whole one, Kane says, and they were “juicy and flavorful” on every trip.
Where RT Rotisserie sets itself apart from other rotisseries, however, is in the sandwich section where the Dutch crunch bread steals the show. Even after fawning over all the meat, Kane says his world was “rocked” by the RT Salad that was “almost invigorating in its elegance” — even without the $3 porchetta add-on.
In Emeryville, Momo Chang finds liquid meat at Yuzu Ramen & Broffe this week. “The broth is key to the restaurant’s success,” Chang says, and the restaurant has completely bought in to the bone broth trend, selling grassfed beef and pasture-raised pork broth by the cup for $5 and using it as a base for the ramen. While beef bone broth ramen may be an uncommon style, Chang found it was reminiscent of Taiwanese beef-noodle soup. A fried chicken appetizer with chili yuzu, spicy mayo, and matcha salt was also a hit with Chang’s family dining crowd. In fact, Chang says the $5 kid-size tonkotsu ramen with green salad, juice and dessert is one of the best kid’s deals in the East Bay and the restaurant cultivates a family-friendly vibe throughout. The only disappointment was the broth in the vegetarian ramen, but it was helpfully balanced out by a pile of unconventional, but “fresh and light” toppings.