Restaurant Review

Umlaut with that?

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

A friend from LA said, upon stepping into Lettüs Café Organic, "I feel like I'm back in LA. On Rodeo Drive somewhere." Ah, Rodeo Drive, home of the Polo Store, haunt of Nancy Reagan. Lettüs isn't quite the kind of place where you'd expect to see Mrs. R. Read more »

Tea rex

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

Tea might be yang to coffee's yin in the morning land of Caffeination Nation, but despite the presence, in yin as in yang, of humankind's favorite stimulant, tea is surely one of the most soothing ingestables known to us. It is what you have a cup of when it's raining, or you're feeling blue or a little achy; as with chicken soup, its healing powers are legendary. The very picture of a cup of tea, wreathed by wisps of delicate steam, tends to set the mind at ease. Read more »

Get thee to a naanery

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

Polk is a many splendored strasse, with lower lows and higher highs, socioeconomically speaking, than practically any other road in town, with the possible exception of Market Street. Below California, there is still an agreeable crunch of urban grit under your feet, you still see the occasional boy hustler, and the restaurants tend toward the ethnic and cheap but this neighborhood is the western edge of the Tenderloin, after all.Read more »

City on a hill

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

It is noteworthy, though seldom noted, that Rome's claim to be the capital of Christianity is, you know, a little ... odd. All the Passover and Easter drama the donkey and the palm fronds, the Last Supper, the betrayal by a kiss in moonlit Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the rock mysteriously rolled away from the mouth of the tomb was supposed to have taken place in, or near, Jerusalem, after all. Read more »

Crazy on you

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

Kookez looks like a name from The Epic of Gilgamesh, or perhaps the name of some lost city in ancient Persia near Shiraz? but really it's a kind of phonetic or spoof spelling. Hint: Resist the urge, almost irresistible in this city, to see the word kook; remember that we deal in food and restaurants here and visualize ... cookies! Read more »

Cav Wine Bar

|
(0)

REVIEW Maybe it's the flight of robust German reds talking, but Cav seems like the sleekest, yet somehow the most laid-back, entry in the recent rush of wine bar openings. (Is there, like, a wine bar mafia hiding out here lately?) While other new oenophile venues certainly have their particular charms, Cav's the only one that aims for hipness without turning class into sass.Read more »

Deeper into sushi

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

Opera Plaza doesn't look like restaurant heaven, and, for the most part, it isn't. The development's long-running success story is Max's Opera Café, a faux deli that deals in mountainous portions, with dill pickles and fries. Over the years there have been a few places with more style, among them Carlo Middione's Vivande and Bruce Cost's Monsoon, but in neither case was traction established, and neither concern lasted long.Read more »

The burger hopper

|
(0)

paulr@sfbg.com

The hamburger has a certain Zelig quality in America: It turns up all over the place, in guises high and low, at fancy metropolitan restaurants and greasy truck stops on the outskirts of every Podunk and Palookaville from coast to coast. Some, like the famous Zuni burger, are made from carefully ground high-end beef; many others many, many others are made from meat whose provenance we probably don't care to think about.Read more »

Wild Pepper

Do you know the way to San Jose?
|
(0)

Heart of glass

|
(0)

One way to temper the shock of the new is to leaven it with bits of the old. The Europeans are expert at this, though they are more likely to do it the other way around: fluffing the old with bits of the new. On a long-ago visit to Oxford, England, in the first gray days of 1989, I was startled to find a Benetton, slick with plate glass and multicolored neon, installed along the high street in a sooty medieval building. We did not go in — for what would be the point? — but continued on to Christ Church College after a brief pause for fish and chips in a hotel pub. Read more »