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What the SF Chronicle’s Food Critic Left Out of Her Latest Review

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Soleil Ho explains why a chef’s connection to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is missing from her last review

Perry Lang’s

Chronicle food critic Soleil Ho says that packing all the context into a review for a Yountville steakhouse meant some important details were cut.

Soleil Ho, who succeeded longstanding Chron critic Michael Bauer after his retirement in 2018, has been no stranger to controversy since her debut, and a recent tweet of hers is sure to inspire even more chatter.

For her weekend review, Ho tapped Perry Lang’s, an eponymous Yountville steakhouse which she called out for (in no particular order):

  • “Its energy” which “comes off as a direct homage to the early days of the steak house, when the establishments were only open to men.”
  • Meal presentation, which is “both gratuitous and unsatisfying to look at, with a somewhat medical aura to it.”
  • Its cutlery, specifically “a steak knife made by Lang, which a server called a ‘felony knife.’ Each is valued at $950.01, the minimum value required for a theft to be considered a felony under California law (Penal Code 487).”
  • And its overall vision, which “feels like a step backward — its theme is perhaps too successful.”

But what she didn’t mention, Ho tweeted Thursday, “is the chef’s link to Jeffrey Epstein, and how the desires of super-rich inevitably influence this particular take on luxury and clubbiness.” For more information on what she meant, she linked to a report that delineated the relationship between the disgraced financier/convicted sex offender and Lang.

According to Ho, the link between Lang and Epstein, which Eater SF reported on last October, wasn’t cut from her review for any conspiracy-stoking reasons. She says that the Epstein information was included in her first draft of the report, but that “we struggled to provide ALL of the context behind that in print without growing the word count substantially or really butchering that sub-narrative,” so it was removed.

And in other news...

  • 1912-era Embarcadero coffee shack Java House (which is not to be confused with Red’s Java House, another Embarcadero institution located on the Southern side of the Bay Bridge) is undergoing renovations to become Frankie’s Java House. Its owners for the last 33 years have reportedly sold the majority of the business to a newcomer to the food game, an insurance broker named Mike Heffernan. [SF Gate]
  • A Peruvian restaurant and dance club called Kimbara is opening in the Mission space previously occupied by Bissap Baobab. [Mission Local]
  • Drinkers might not notice, but Fort Point Beer Co’s Valencia Street taproom was designed specifically to match its can logos. [Metropolis]
  • Maria Stipp, the CEO of Heineken-owned, Petaluma-based, Lagunitas Brewing Co., announced her resignation Thursday. She’ll be replaced by Dennis Peek, who is currently the the managing director of Heineken Canada. [Argus Courier]
  • Bernal Heights seafood spot Red Hill Station has shuttered, and its owners say that taxes, employee health care expenses, and an anticipated rent increase spurred the restaurant’s demise. [Hoodline]
  • A former student employee at one of UC Berkeley’s dining halls says she was sexually harassed by a colleague, but that managers have yet to act. [Daily Californian]
  • Every Wednesday, a group of 80-year-old drinkers converges at Divisadero dive bar The Page. [SF Gate]
  • Dona Savitsky, whose fast-casual cafe Doña opened last December in Oakland, says that unlike her shuttered Temescal spot Doña Tomás, her new restaurant “is doing three times, or more, the amount of sales at lunch” and “is, hands down, the best move I’ve ever made.” [Berkeleyside]
  • Thomas Keller’s three-Michelin-starred restaurant the French Laundry originally had other owners: the restaurant was founded by Sally and Don Schmitt, who sold the spot to Keller in 1994. [LA Times]

Red Hill Station

803 Cortland Ave, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 757-0480 Visit Website

Fort Point Valencia

742 Valencia Street, , CA 94110 (415) 361-7001 Visit Website

Doña Tomás

5004 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609 (510) 450-0522 Visit Website

The Page

298 Divisadero Street, , CA 94117 (415) 255-6101 Visit Website

Bissap Baobab

3386 19th Street, San Francisco, CA 94110 (415) 826-9287 Visit Website