Digesting The Reviews: Reviewing Outside The Box!

In a refreshing change of pace from the newly-opened, haute-cuisine norm, it seems that a great deal of this week’s reviews took to nontraditional “reviewable restaurants.” We’ve got a Mexican joint, a crossbay Thai place and even a cupcake haven or two, but first on the list is a Chinese restaurant whose bland, conspicuous sign has been noticed and subsequently ignored by just about every San Franciscan walking down Folsom.

As the Guardian’s Paul Reidinger discovers, Canton is a pleasingly authentic Cantonese seafood and dim sum restaurant that eschews its dated, divey exterior and manages to serve some darn tasty (and unique) fare:

For one thing, the restaurant is one of a handful in town to offer the Cantonese specialty nor mai gai ($20), the skin of a whole chicken, stuffed with sausage-dotted sticky rice and deep-fried. The dish is more interesting for its presentational value and as a textural adventure than as one of taste, since in the mouth it’s basically rice with a hint of salty sweetness (from the Chinese sausage) and a bit of poultry crunch (from the skin). Much of the flavor comes from the accompanying mystery sauce, a kind of sweet-sour vinaigrette laced with rounds of scallion.

Other standouts include an “excellent” chicken salad and sea bass (“creamy flesh within a delicate golden envelope”), but the most memorable dish may have been Canton’s version of duck buns, which involve servers stripping a half-duck tableside and stuffing the shredded meat into freshly-steamed buns. [SFBG]

Sticking with the week’s ethnic theme, Senor Bauer didn’t have many nice things to say about Tres Agaves, which he recently lauded on his Top 100 list. If only he could have a do-over; suffice to say, Bauer is bru-tal on Joseph Manzare’s Mexican undertaking:

The first chip I picked up on a recent visit to Tres Agaves was a clue – I should have packed it in and gone somewhere else.The tortillas were so stale they tasted as if they had been left out in the fog for about three days. The chunky salsa consisted of huge irregular dicesof white onions, mushy tomatoes and a soupy broth.Oh well, I thought, at least the margarita ($9) will be good; this is a place that prides itself on using 100 percent blue agave tequila in all eight versions. Wrong again.

Other standouts include an “excellent” chicken salad and sea bass (“creamy flesh within a delicate golden envelope”), but the most memorable dish may have been Canton’s version of duck buns, which involve servers stripping a half-duck tableside and stuffing the shredded meat into freshly-steamed buns. [SFBG]

Sticking with the week’s ethnic theme, Senor Bauer didn’t have many nice things to say about Tres Agaves, which he recently lauded on his Top 100 list. If only he could have a do-over; suffice to say, Bauer is bru-tal on Joseph Manzare’s Mexican undertaking:

The Guardian also stopped by the Shanghai Dumpling Shop, Meredith Brody checks out Kara’s Cupcakes and others sweet treats in a dessert tour-de-force, Miriam Morgan goes to Rockridge for Thai food at Soi4, Mandy Erickson gets busy at Kitchen in Millbrae, the Hounds discuss Beard Papa and finally, Miss Tablehopper has nothing but nice things to say about old standby South Park Cafe.

Digesting The Reviews: Reviewing Outside The Box!