Mr. Bauer Still Loves Boot & Shoe; Boer Checks Out Saul’s in Berkeley; Miller Returns to Gitane and Oliveto

Boot & Shoe Service, named for the former tenant in the space.
Boot & Shoe Service, named for the former tenant in the space. Photo: FoodNut

Michael Bauer returned for an update review at Oakland’s Boot & Shoe Service (he admitted, though, last week that this was only because Ramen Shop was closed). He’s loved the place from the get-go, but they’ve now expanded into the next door space, and there’s 100 seats total, with two big communal tables in the center. He still loves the pizza (we do too, and included them in the top ten of our Top 50 Pizzas roundup), but he also adores the rest of Charlie Hallowell’s menu, like the “exceptional” braised short ribs, and “some of the best [cocktails] in the Bay Area.” And he has “a Chez Panisse moment” eating some simple, wood-oven-kissed Tokyo turnips, which were the epitome of turnips, “earthy and sweet, with the greens still attached.” All told: three stars. [Chron]

Bauer’s colleague Nicholas Boer is on East Bay two-star patrol, and he pays a visit to Saul’s Restaurant and Delicatessen in Berkeley, to which gives — yep — two stars. He absolutely loves their house-cured pastrami and corned beef, and also compliments their falafel, and the kipper and eggs and brunch. Also, he adds, “Feel free to grill the waitstaff. They seem unflappable, with plenty of opinions of their own.” [Chron]

And Virginia Miller checks out new menus at Oliveto and Gitane. She says that Oliveto is as great as ever, and “maintains its purpose as a culinary community stalwart akin to Chez Panisse.” She loves what young chef Jonah Rhodehamel is doing, especially the pastas, the unusual fritto misto, and his “impeccable” grilled meats. At Gitane, where co-chef couple Bridget Batson and Patrick Kelly have launched a new, frequently changing menu that “wanders gypsy-like through Southern Spain, changing cities (Andalusia, Sevilla, Valencia) every few weeks.” She loves an a la carte plate of roasted artichokes, and a entrée of rabbit two ways: “roasted saddle and a dreamy riletta, accompanied by braised snails and caramelized squash.” And on the tasting menu upstairs she calls a dish of Iberico pork cheeks with Matsutake mushroom and raw Nantucket Bay scallops in a raisin-saffron-mushroom coulis, a “delight.” [SFBG]