We took note the other day how Michael Bauer is not on board with the No-Reservations Generation, and his experience of showing up before 6 p.m. to Outerlands to find a full restaurant and hour and a half wait was one of the reasons for his complaints. It turns out, it didn’t really ruin his experience — he just went next door to longtime Sunset staple Celia’s for a margarita — and he writes them a rave anyway, though when you get to the star verdict they appear to get dinged at least half a star for his inconvenience.
We could have sworn he’d already reviewed the place, which has been very much on foodinistas’ radars for the past two years, but it turns out Amanda Gold wrote their last Chronicle review when the place opened in 2009, before chef Brett Cooper kicked things up a notch. Nonetheless, Cooper was named a Rising Star chef by Bauer in 2012, and he’s blogged about a couple of dishes he’s liked on previous visits.
This time, he sings the praises of a citrus-braised fennel salad with smoked Chanteney carrots, pomelo, aged sheep’s cheese, and hazelnuts; a dish of geoduck clam and sea urchin, with radishes, kombu, and mustard leaves; and a black cod entrée with cippollini onions, black garlic, escarole, and vichyssoise, saying it’s a dish that “tweaks all the senses.”
And Mr. Bauer is relieved that they will, hopefully soon, be instituting a reservation system, as soon as they complete their planned expansion into the next-door space.
In the end, possibly because he had to wait, they end up with two and half stars, even though to read the review you could swear he was going to give them three and a half — like he did to the similarly wonderful Rich Table. Ah, well.