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SF’s Critics Enjoy Sorrel’s Flowery Menu

Also: Pete Kane investigates “seacuterie” in the Marina

Patricia Chang


Chef Alexander Hong’s buzzy new project Sorrel in Presidio Heights is already winning over our local critics. It’s “a neighborhood restaurant befitting its neighborhood,” writes Eater’s Rachel Levin, and Hong brings confidence to the table with a refreshing lack of pretentiousness. Over at the Chronicle, Michael Bauer agrees that Hong has honed “a sophisticated approach” during Sorrel’s life as a weekly pop-up, and his training shows in the “fully realized” pastas, the Alice in Wonderland-esque “salad of various chicories,” and a masterful duck breast lacquered with honey, fennel seeds and pollen. While dishes like the spring lamb tartare, the “playful” soft shell crab and that “bronzed, beautiful” duck swaddled in honey stood out to Levin, the rest of the menu suffered from predictable San Francisco sameness — and a few too many nasturtium flowers.

Bauer, on the other hand, was a little more generous, noting everything was “reasonably priced for the complexity of the preparation.” He did, however, think the wines could be a little more wallet-friendly for the neighborhood crowd. Three and a half Bauer stars. Two Levin stars.

Cafe Boho

In the Marina, Cafe Boho set off Pete Kane’s radar with its “seacuterie” menu, featuring items like tuna pastrami, sturgeon boudin blanc, and a “bear with it” salmon napoleon. After diving for roe and sourdough, Kane recommends the opulent mussels steamed in rouille with crème fraîche “so it’s almost like a smoked cheddar broth” and the pappardelle with squash and wax beans that tastes like “high summer dropping into autumn.” Though the plates are “maddeningly small” and the interior is “little more than a signifier of money,” Kane still thinks Cafe Boho’s food is worth the trip.

Mister Bolenca

In the East Bay, Janelle Bitker found Asian and Latino flavors “stuffed into french bread” at perma-pop-up Mister Bolenca, inside Berkeley’s Highwire Coffee. Chef Sincere Justice brings together various styles to create sandwiches like the Thai beef marinated in Mexican beer and guajillo red curry. Topped with labneh, Chimichurri and turmeric slaw, “every single element was well-seasoned and thoughtfully placed,” Bitker writes, “creating a juicy, messy, and super-satisfying gut-buster of a globetrotting sandwich.” Other pleasures at Mister Bolanca’s include: a messy, decadent and vegetarian cauliflower grilled cheese; a surprising sous-vide Korean chicken sandwich; and a “blisteringly flavorful” huevos Sichuan sandwich with fried eggs and toasted peppercorns.


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