clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

‘Aina Ended 2017 With Three Bauer Stars

Also: Wahlburgers didn’t translate well to Silicon Valley

As Quoted

Eater SF critic Rachel Levin pulled a daylong New Year’s cleanse at As Quoted, Presidio Heights’ wholesome all-day café, and left feeling pleasantly surprised by the “Goopy, gluten-free lifestyle.” Especially, the zucchini pappardelle, the tumeric latte and the generously topped GF toasts.” One star.

And in case you missed it: Check out the 13 best dishes Levin consumed from each review of 2013.

Note: Eater rates restaurants on a scale of zero to four stars, taking into consideration food, atmosphere, service, value, and the context of the restaurant within the larger dining landscape. Zero: not recommended; one star: okay - good; two stars: very good - great; three stars: highly recommended, excellent; four stars: beyond exceptional.


Aina

Rounding out his 2017, Bauer returned to ‘Aina in the Dogpatch to give it a proper review. The critic last checked in when chef-owner Jordan Keao added dinner service, but now that the restaurant has added counter seats for chef Chris Yang’s $60, six-seven course tasting menu, the budget-minded Bauer is over the moon. Yang uses Hawaiian ingredients with California products to create “complex and multilayered” presentations like tea-smoked duck and pipikaula made from Wagyu short ribs smoked over imported kiawe wood. Poi, the traditional Hawaiian dish made of pounded taro root, “usually has the charm of wallpaper paste,” Bauer says, but Yang’s hand-pounded version — served with a slice of pork belly and smoked coconut foam — “comes out loose and silken.”

But the tasting menu “is only one reason to visit,” Bauer notes, because the “aloha spirit” carries over to the rest of the restaurant as well. The french toast, made from bread flown in from the Big Island, immediately “shows why the restaurant has captured a coveted place in the burgeoning brunch market.” But the “stylized” a la carte items like tuna poke and a Portuguese cassoulet show the same care and effort as the tasting menu. Throw in some “surprisingly sophisticated” desserts and ‘Aina has earned three stars.


Wahlburgers

Over at the Weekly, Pete Kane closed out his year with a trip down to Palo Alto to find which burger toppings are preferred by which members of Mark Wahlburg’s extended family. Spoiler alert: “The burgers simply aren’t good.” The tater tots “are decent.” But the Wahlburgs’ biggest culinary sin was not putting a “Wahldorf” salad on menu where the puns seem to be the only good thing going.


Paulista Brazilian Kitchen & Taproom

In the East Bay, Express critic Janelle Bitker headed to Glen View to find a mix of Brazilian comfort foods and craft beer at Paulista’s. Rather than the Churrascaria-style meatfest most Brazilian steakhouses are known for, chef Alex Yamamoto offers homier fare and street snacks like empanadas, coxinhas corn fritters, and the mini-pizza-like esfihas flatbreads.

On the heartier side, Bitker enjoyed Yamamoto’s take on feijoda — bean stew with linguiça, beef and pork — as well as the traditional seafood dishes like bobó and moqueca. Although all three were “solid,” Bitker was a little disappointed to learn Yamamoto was purposefully holding back on the “unctuous” palm oil and malagueta pepper that give them their punch.


Aina

900 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (415) 814-3815 Visit Website

As Quoted

3613 Sacramento Street, San Francisco, California 94118 (415) 914-0689 Visit Website

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater San Francisco newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world