Hot off some positive Michelin press earlier this month, Americano played host to the Michael Bauer Wednesday review this week. Since opening in 2005, Chef Paul Arenstam’s modernized Italian restaurant along the Embarcadero has gained a wealth of popularity, mostly due to its picturesque al fresco dining area (“like the patio of a wealthy society scion”). Though the main courses ("which have increased in price by $5 to $7 since The Chronicle’s last review”) hit some flat notes, Americano’s desserts left Mr. Bauer’s tastebuds tingling:
The most pleasant surprise on my visits – aside from the efficient, attitude-free service – was dessert. The inside-out s’mores ice cream sandwich ($8) includes graham cracker ice cream with chocolate shortbread cookies, tender house-made marshmallows, peanut butter sauce, hot fudge and honey-roasted peanuts.Rhubarb pie ($8) is done individually, with a round lattice top propped on one side of the filling, alongside a cool buttermilk strawberry ice cream and vanilla poached strawberries. The warm chocolate pudding cake ($8) is topped with brulee bananas, and served with a banana malt milkshake and crisp cookies on the side.
In the end, Americano received a slightly-disappointing two stars. Even though the (supposedly) famous pizza gets knocked as a “puff pastry round with a sawtooth rim” and the shrimp Louis seemed “scraped together,” we’re pretty sure that the patio area will still be overflowing with FiDi folk looking to enjoy one of the best outdoor views of the foggy Embarcadero. [SFGate]
The rest of the week’s reviews, coming up.
Elsewhere, the Bay Guardian tackles one of the (too) few Greek restaurants in the city, the venerable Myconos and provides plenty of Greek cuisine tidbits in the process:
The restaurant’s version of a Greek salad — mixed greens tossed with roma tomato coins, crumblings of feta cheese, and onion slivers — turns up beside many of the main courses. Among these is a rather splendid pastitsio ($11.95), a kind of Greek lasagna that combines layers of tubular pasta, seasoned ground beef, and béchamel cheese sauce into a shape that resembles a large square hamburger (with the béchamel cheese sauce looking like the top half of the bun). The wind blows from the east across the pastitsio, bringing the scent of nutmeg, perfume of the Middle East and even points beyond. This is not surprising; as Elson M. Haas, MD, instructs us in Staying Healthy with Nutrition (Celestial Arts/Ten Speed, $39.95), “the Middle Eastern nations consume a variant of the Indian diet,” and Greece is on the fringes of the Middle East.
The wine list gets a hearty thumbs up, and the inherent greatness of the fried cheese (saganaki) overshadows the falafel’s shortcomings. [SFBG]
Rounding out the rest: in a special to the Chronicle, Jennifer Tomaro discovers Vietnamese in Walnut Creek at Huynh, Burlingame’s La Corneta is gaining quite the following on the Peninsula, SFWeekly’s Robert Lauriston blows the lid of Burmese gem Larkin Express Deli in the Civic Center, and the Chowhounds are already wondering about the newly reopened Julius’ Castle.