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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tomorrow in 'Eat': Jonathan Kauffman Has the Last Word on Commis

Posted By on Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:13 PM

James Syhabout (center) presides over an Oakland restaurant that's sparked disagreement among local critics. - STAR5112/FLICKR
  • star5112/Flickr
  • James Syhabout (center) presides over an Oakland restaurant that's sparked disagreement among local critics.
Of all the Bay Area restaurants that opened in 2009, none made the sparks fly like Commis. The tiny Oakland showplace by S.F. expat James Syhabout left some critics ready to declare Piedmont Avenue the new Roses, while others couldn't wait to pay the tab and steer their Audis back across the Bay Bridge. Tomorrow in SF Weekly, food critic Jonathan Kauffman aims to have the final word. "Commis is a destination restaurant for an indie-rock generation," writes Kauffman, "diners who prize preciousness over pomp and relish the weird places that individual vision can take a gifted artist. It isn't a perfect restaurant, but it's capable of food that approaches the sublime." Read the full review later today at SFWeekly.com. Tide yourself over with SFoodie's paragraph-size amuse (after the jump):

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Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tomorrow in Kauffman: Notes from the Mission's Nicaraguan Strip

Posted By on Tue, Feb 2, 2010 at 1:17 PM

Chancho loco: Oye! Managua - EATING IN TRANSLATION/FLICKR
In Wednesday's Eat, SF Weekly food critic Jonathan Kauffman reviews three Nicaraguan places in the Outer Mission: Oye! Managua, Las Tinajas, and Adelita's Cakes. Get a jump on tomorrow's review later today at SFWeekly.com. In the meantime, here's an excerpt (after the jump):

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Early Bird Special: Jonathan Kauffman Takes a Look at Bruno's

Posted By on Tue, Jan 19, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Kat Zacher and Ryan Ostler
  • Kat Zacher and Ryan Ostler
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

In the first single-venue review filed by SF Weekly food critic Jonathan Kauffman, the Southern roadhouse cooking of Ryan Ostler and Kat Zacher at Bruno's (2389 Mission at 20th St.), goes under the 'scope. Between the biscuits and the Indian-spiced vegetarian pot pie, Kauffman finds chefs with the kind of skills that don't usually apply themselves to America's humbler food genres. Can they survive the neo-hipster ambience of Bruno's? Find out later today at SFWeekly.com. In the meantime, check out this extended excerpt of Kauffman's findings (after the jump).

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Early Bird Special: Jonathan Kauffman Revisits Some Old Faves

Posted By on Tue, Jan 12, 2010 at 2:28 PM

Macaroons from La Boulange: Still packin' the old magic? - B B./YELP
  • b b./Yelp
  • Macaroons from La Boulange: Still packin' the old magic?
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to tell you that the food places in your neighborhood are as good as you always thought they were ― or not. In tomorrow's SF Weekly, new restaurant critic Jonathan Kauffman revisits the foods he loved when he called the city his home, before moving on to Seattle in 2006. In an epic 48-hour orgy of eats, Kauffman takes a nostalgic journey from the Outer Sunset to the Inner Mission. What's still delicious? What's drifted into the land of meh? Find out later today at SFWeekly.com. In the meantime, check out our excerpt of Kauffman's look back (after the jump).

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Early Bird Special: Nombe

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Skewered: Izakaya-style grilled meats at Nombe. - LARA HATA
  • Lara Hata
  • Skewered: Izakaya-style grilled meats at Nombe.
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

Big duh: Street food was huger than Jesus in San Francisco this year, which is why the November launch of Mission District izakaya joint Nombe (2491 Mission at 21st St.) made total sense. A collaboration by ex-O Izakaya chef Nick Balla and Sozai proprietors Gil Payne and Mari Takahashi, Nombe tries to fuse table food and pavement food, via late-night weekend street eats. Though the effort is still no more than a gesture, it's perfectly fitting for a place that's probing the snarly, sometimes gritty cooking of Japan's bar-food genre, with a sprawling sake menu and notable Cali twists. The kitchen's aspirations sometimes outpace its abilities, but it's unlikely you'll come away from Nombe ― either the restaurant part or the after-hours street-y part ― not feeling satisfied. Read the full review by John Birdsall later today at SFWeekly.com; as a preview, read SFoodie's extended excerpt (after the jump).

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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Early Bird Special: Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Café

Posted By on Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 9:46 AM

The fried shrimp po'boy: A sandwich named desire. - TAMARA PALMER
  • Tamara Palmer
  • The fried shrimp po'boy: A sandwich named desire.
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

Is Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Café all that and a bag of Zapp's? The New Orleans outpost in the Portola District (3030 San Bruno at Dwight) knocks out up to a dozen fillings: catfish, crawfish, oysters. And while SF Weekly critic Matthew Stafford gives the po'boys a mostly enthusiastic fist bump this week, the real king of the crewe at Queen's is the gumbo, followed by the crisp-on-the-outside, steamy-on-the-inside hush puppies. Are they good enough to eclipse Stafford's memories of the Crescent City? Nah. But in a pinch, they'll do. Read all about it later today at SFWeekly.com. Until then, prime your appetite with SFoodie's paragraph-long excerpt (after the jump).

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Early Bird Special: Il Cane Rosso

Posted By on Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 10:32 AM

Marin Sun Farms beef sugo over creamy polenta. - J. BIRDSALL
  • J. Birdsall
  • Marin Sun Farms beef sugo over creamy polenta.
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

If Manhattan ramen king David Chang taught us anything, it's this: Northern California's ingredient-centric cooking vernacular can seem like gibberish to outsiders. If you'd begun to internalize the knock that local chefs are skilled at not much more than arranging figs on dinnerware, Il Cane RossoDaniel Patterson and Lauren Kiino's overgrown rotisserie kiosk in the Ferry Building ― can restore your faith in the Bay Area's market-driven credo. Open since July, last month Cane Rosso began serving nightly three-course dinners: gorgeous suites of some of the tastiest, most meticulously raised meats and produce Northern Cali offers, with a hyper-seasonality that gives you a vivid taste of the here and now. Read the tasty particulars (by yours truly) later today at SFWeekly.com. For a preview, check out SFoodie's paragraph-long excerpt (after the jump).

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Early Bird Special: Fish & Farm

Posted By on Tue, Dec 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM

FISH & FARM
  • Fish & Farm
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

Last spring, owner Frank Klein scrapped the locavore concept he'd forged for Fish & Farm, the TenderSquare eatery tucked into the Mark Twain Hotel (339 Taylor at O'Farrell). With chef Charlie Kleinman off to get smoky at Wexler's, Klein gave the nod to Chad Newton, who got his first glimpse of restaurant glory at defunct Postrio. Newton helped reinvent Fish & Farm with lush tastes of New American comfort foods. SF Weekly critic Matthew Stafford finds them appropriately soothing in these dark days of holiday cheer, especially Newton's befores and afters. Wallow in Stafford's findings later today at SFWeekly.com. For now, you'll have to comfort yourself with SFoodie's juicy one-bite excerpt (after the jump).

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Early Bird Special: Sundance Kitchen

Posted By on Tue, Dec 1, 2009 at 12:05 PM

It's a place that feels uninspired -- until the food arrives. - LACEILBLEU/FLICKR
  • laceilbleu/Flickr
  • It's a place that feels uninspired -- until the food arrives.
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

The Hawaiian plate lunch doesn't have to be a sprawling aggregate of starches. At Sundance Kitchen (1865 Post at Webster), the house restaurant for Sundance Kabuki Cinema in J-Town, familiar strip-mall grinds (Hawaiian slang for eats) find welcome sophistication without going all Roy's. And while the place feels as dreary as some little-trafficked bar in a provincial airport, the food is meticulously crafted. The island classics loco moco, Spam musubi, and kalua pork are among the best you're likely to taste. No wonder: Once upon a time, restaurant manager Pat Da Silva ran the well-loved Honu's Island Grinds & Bar in nearby Buchanan Mall. Gorge on the full review (filed by yours truly) later today at SFWeekly.com, or dip your finger in SFoodie's extended excerpt (after the jump).

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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Early Bird Special: Chilango

Posted By on Tue, Nov 24, 2009 at 10:42 AM

Tacos de suadero are typical of Chilango's balancing act. - J. BIRDSALL
  • J. Birdsall
  • Tacos de suadero are typical of Chilango's balancing act.
An early nibble from the Weekly's Wednesday food review.

Roberto Aguiar Cruz has to be among the most agile young chefs in the city. At two-month-old Chilango (235 Church at Market), the Nayarit-born Cruz is infusing neighborhood Mexican with an authentic aura of D.F.-derived antojitos. It's well-constructed cooking that can't veer too far from the taco-enchilada format most norteños -- even in a city with cosmopolitan sensibilities -- expect from the sort of place designed as a weeknight alternative to firing up the burners at home. SF Weekly critic Cal Foster drops in this week to assess how Cruz is doing, and leaves impressed. From the stock in the pozole to the shredded duck in the flautas, Cruz succeeds by focusing on flavor, and by hewing close to his dishes' street-y pedigree. Read Foster's full report later today at SFWeekly.com. Sucker for a spoiler? Read our extended excerpt after the jump.

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