Restaurant Review

Breezy's

A performance enhancement
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

Since the symphony strike of the mid-1990s, the west side of the Civic Center has seen more than its share of high-profile destination restaurants open their doors. From Jardinière (born 1997) to Essencia (2007), the tone of the restaurants in the neighborhood (whose epicenter is the corner of Gough and Hayes) has become considerably ... tonier.

Much of the upscale-ishness doubtless has to do with the demolition of the Central Freeway viaduct and the reemergence of Hayes Valley as a nice place to live. Read more »

A la Turca

A virtual Xanadu for any aficionado of the Byzantine
|
()

TURKISH TREAT Lebanese, Syrian, Greek — a craving for Mediterranean or Middle Eastern can be satisfied at a number of Bay Area restaurants, yet what if you want the one cuisine bridging the two? Inexplicably, Turkish restaurants are sorely missing from an otherwise all-inclusive food scene.

But deep in the cracked-out heart of the Tenderloin resides the consistently delicious and ridiculously affordable A la Turca. Read more »

Monk's Kettle

A craft-beer bar with food to match; ergo, a kind of hipster tavern
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

First, although it's early, let's hand out our first annual Best Restaurant Name Award. This year's winner is the Monk's Kettle, which is a witty, memorable, and — since the place in question is a craft-beer bar with food to match; ergo, a kind of hipster tavern — evocative phrase. Everyone loves a monk, and kettle is just fun to say, especially after a fancy beer or two.

The Monk's Kettle is not a brewpub. No beer brewing is done on the premises, which are probably too snug anyway. Read more »

Cuckoo for Coco500

Most of Coco500's magic has to do with the food and the service
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

An adage favored by the paterfamilias: if it ain't broke, don't fix it. He has generally deployed this wisdom in the matter of automobiles, while for me it has tended to apply to ... well, practically everything. Bizou, for instance. This was the restaurant Loretta Keller opened at the corner of Fourth Street and Brannan in 1993, a time when the corner of Fourth Street and Brannan was a pretty lonely place at night. Read more »

Namu

U, me, and Namu
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

Of the city's many village centers, I have always had a special fondness for the Inner Richmond enclave along Balboa, from Arguello to Eighth Avenue or so. Here you find Russian bakeries nestled across the street from sushi bars, with a Korean barbecue at one corner, a Chinese joint at the next, and a chic Cal-Med spot a few steps beyond the traffic light. Add a butcher shop, a nursery school, and a cleaners, and you have a self-sustaining little world. Read more »

Serpentine

Factory fresh
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

If you didn't know that Dogpatch's newest glam restaurant, Serpentine, is the younger sibling of the Slow Club, would you guess? Signals are mixed, and your answer might depend on whether you concentrated your attention on the menus or the physical particulars of the related pair. On the latter point, we have a sort of local restaurant version of Wills and Harry, the British princelings beloved of paparazzi: a confounding blend of similarities and dissimilarities, evidence that could go either way. Read more »

Cassis

Nice guys finish first
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

In the Big Book of Troubled Restaurant Spaces, there will have to be a long chapter (with footnotes!) devoted to 2101 Sutter. Since the mid-1990s this unassuming but hardly forbidding site has been home to Nightshade, Laghi, Julia, Winterland, and now Cassis, and I might be forgetting a few. The comings and goings have been many and hasty. Why the address's occupants should have such a nomadic bent, one after the other, isn't obvious when considering the physical particulars. Read more »

Navio

Coast plus
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

When preparing coastal cuisine, it helps for a restaurant to have a coast at hand, to get both the kitchen and the patronage in the mood. Read more »

Cafe Andree

Eat global, meet locals
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

Someone says the word global and — quick! — what's the first association that occurs to you? Warming? Expect a congratulatory phone call from Al Gore. I like Gore and wish he'd managed to become president, but he won't be calling me, because I would shout out knives! in response to global. Global knives, beloved of sushi chefs, are those ultrasharp Japanese knives made from ceramic material.

There's no sushi on the menu at Café Andrée, though executive chef Evan Crandall describes his new menu as global. Read more »

1300 on Fillmore

Soul of the new Fillmore
|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

Ordinarily one would be distressed, though these days hardly surprised, by the news that a farmers market in the midst of the city was being displaced by a brand-new building full of luxury condos, with a fancy restaurant on the ground floor. Although farmers markets, like coyotes, have been modestly flourishing in the city of late, they are still a delicate species whose natural habitat — often parking lots — invites predation by developers. Read more »