Hazel Southern Bar and Kitchen
Michael Bauer kicked off his holiday weekend by reflecting upon the unfortunate six-month run that Cadence experienced on Market Street last year. It was, “an epic fail,” Bauer says, using the parlance of a mid-aughts YouTube star. Nine months later, the space at Market and Van Ness has been redecorated, reconfigured and reborn as Hazel Southern Bar & Kitchen. The Northern California menu has been replaced with “rib-sticking fare” like fried chicken and catfish, and the fine dining flair has been replaced by two billiard tables, 16 TVs and a crowd of “guys in billed caps, women in short dresses,” all tuned into their smartphones.
In the “particularly intense” bar area, Bauer finds the staff knows their classics and in the kitchen chef Casey Hatwig (Lark Creek Group) has created an “accessible” menu of American comfort food, lightened up for the California Palate. “There’s no question that this is Southern food,” Bauer says, and recommends the catfish fillet on fried cabbage, the oxtail on dirty rice and the the cayenne-rubbed rack of ribs that are “the work of a rib master.” The menu is heavy on the fried things (gator bites, hush puppies and collard green dumplings being among the most notable), which makes the bourbon and beer selection that much more inviting. With tons of Southern hospitality, Bauer thinks Hazel is “exactly right” for mid-Market. Two and a half stars.
In Hayes Valley, the Weekly’s Pete Kane was expecting more out of Adriano Paganini’s (Beretta, Delarosa, Lolinda) A Mano. The restaurant is “very much at home in 2017 San Francisco,” Kane says, nodding to the seasonal menu and industrial decor. “But I think we can expect more from this hand.”
Like Eater’s own Rachel Levin, Kane found the food uneven and occasionally underwhelming. The risotto in the fontina arancini was under-salted, as was the roast chicken. The tagliatelle and the bucatini, on the other hand, were respectively “garlicky and assertive” and “rambunctious.” The pizzas were even better, but the short ribs and polenta topped the must-order list with “meat that fell off the bone with a wave of the hand,” and “inadvertently revealed A Mano’s lack of boldness elsewhere.” Despite the standouts, A Mano’s main problem is that it is “merely good,” Kane says, drawing some thoughtful comparisons to the oft-maligned Olive Garden. Ultimately, it seems like the menu is handicapped by the hardline focus on pasta.
Oakland Coliseum’s Food Trucks
In the East Bay, Express contributor Momo Chang tastes her way through all the options at Oakland Coliseum’s Championship Plaza food truck corral. Although she’s “a fiend” for the standard concession stand garlic fries and would never make it through the 40-plus food truck options, Chang samples the pan-Asian barbecue from Yummi BBQ, a pair of tacos from El Gran Taco Loco, and the larger-than-average popcorn shrimp from Big City Country Boy. Food truck fare “is rarely mind-blowing,” Chang says, but the extra options give the Coliseum “an overall elevated experience.”
- Hazel piles on the Southern comfort at Mid-Market [Chronicle]
- Eat: A Mano, a Handmade Tale [SFWeekly]
- Not Just Peanuts and Cracker Jack at Oakland Coliseum [Express]