After the parade of praise from Eater’s Rachel Levin, the Weekly’s Pete Kane and America’s Chief Goop Officer Gwyneth Paltrow, Che Fico has quickly become “the most sought-after reservation in town” Michael Bauer writes in his own review this week. Like his younger colleagues, Bauer praises chef-owner and certified pizzaiolo David Nayfield’s work in the pizza and pasta departments. But Bauer points to the menu’s Cucina Ebraica section of Roman Jewish dishes as the real standouts.
The “wreath” of grilled duck livers and white leek blossoms, for example, was not only worthy of instagram, but Bauer says he’s “rarely seen such a rustic dish so elevated by presentation.” Elsewhere, offal appears in the chicken heart and gizzard salad, and the “bold and inviting” beef tongue — two dishes that “would be a mistake” to avoid. With three “fully realized” larger plates, simple house cocktails and Angela Pinkerton’s James Beard-worthy pastries rounding out Che Fico’s offerings, Bauer’s only real gripe is that the restaurant’s “noncaring or arrogant attitude” can sometimes feel like a brush-off. Three stars.
Dosa by Dosa
Elsewhere, fast-casual Bauer dropped an unstarred review of dosa by DOSA, where he notes that the interior of the quick-service Indian spot is “more impressive than the full-service Dosa in San Francisco.” While the menu “isn’t as involved” as the table service version, the ever-popular butter chicken has “that familiar deep flavor” in Oakland, Bauer says, although he’s partial to the potato masala dosa himself.
Comal Next Door
Comal’s sister taqueria in Berkeley already got the Bauer seal of approval, and Express critic Janelle Bitker gives us an even deeper review of a place that will feel “surprisingly familiar” to fans of the original. You’ll get the same thoughtful salsas and meat options — sourced from the same purveyors as Comal itself — but in a “takeout-friendly” format at “reasonable price points.” Each burrito is “a fully composed thought,” and the al pastor stars on a menu that also boasts “soft, rich carnitas” and “flavor-packed” achiote chicken. Although the main vegetarian options were “fine,” a simple side of green beans was Bitker’s biggest highlight, but if it’s fried chicken you’re after, the fried chicken torta could be giving Bakesale Betty’s a run for the money.
- Che Fico lives up to hype as most anticipated newcomer [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Dosa by Dosa quickly takes fast-casual to a new level [San Francisco Chronicle]
- Comal Next Door Offers Solid Taqueria Fare in Downtown Berkeley [East Bay Express]