Restaurant Review

Crazy on you

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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

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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

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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

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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?
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Heart of glass

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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 »

Dine review

A crude proposition
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In the arena of raw seafood, the Japanese are not unchallenged. They are probably dominant, of course, being masters of nigiri and sashimi and of rolls in versions beyond count. But the Spanish and French and their New World offshoots offer us ceviche (or seviche)