Digesting The Reviews: The Ritz, Tajine And More

The San Francisco Bay Guardian and Paul Reidinger, in an uncharacteristic show of bling, checked out The Dining Room at the Ritz-Carlton. He opted for the three course à la carte menu, which he lauds as a veritable bargain at $74. In typical Ron Siegel fashion, the highlights were the magicial fish courses:

Since it is king salmon season for the first time in several years, one took delivery of the fish with some sense of greeting a long-lost acquaintance. (The three-course option gives you choice of starter, main dish, and dessert, but there are also several set multicourse menus, one of them vegetarian.) The salmon turned out to be a wonderfully crisped, medium-rare square of filet, presented on a green and yellow blanket of béarnaise sauce and English-pea puree, with some wild-mushroom dice and baby leeks enhancing the sense of rich earthiness.Sea bream en papillote, by contrast, struck an ethereal note. The fish, along with a bouquet of lemon verbena, was cooked to exquisite moistness in a glove of aluminum foil, which was presented whole before being cut open tableside. The dish also filled out our daily ration of pasta pillows; once the filet had been extracted from its crinkly lair, it was laid to rest on a handful of porcini ravioli, with lemon verbena sauce poured around.

Though dessert was slightly disappointing (“a chocolate savarin that seemed dry despite a good soaking with some orange liqueur”), the meal as a whole was predictably stellar, begging the question of why SFBG would send Reidinger there. Maybe it was a reward for all of his ventures into the Mission. Or maybe they wanted to make an announcement to hipsters everywhere: “According to Open Table, the restaurant’s dress code is ‘jacket preferred,’ and that is probably enough to ward off hip-huggerists. At least we saw none.” [SFBG]

The opposite end of the spectrum, post-jump.

Meredith Brody, in her visit to Tajine, mourns the loss of the original prices but is pleased overall with the state of affairs in the one-time Tenderloin (now on Polk) diamond in the rough:

Despite the higher prices, and the sad simplification of the couscous dish, Tajine is quite a find: an authentic little place that turns out tasty versions of traditional Moroccan dishes. Here you can feast on several courses or pop in for a salad, a spicy bowl of harira soup, or a snack — they do kebab sandwiches, with grilled chicken, lamb, kufta, or merguez tucked inside crusty rolls. But caveat emptor: Tajine is cash only.

Brody also has nice things to say about the second destination on her Moroccan tour at Marrakech, but leaves the reader/diner hanging, failing to answer one key question: which is better: Tajine or Marrakech? [SF Weekly]

The rest: Michael Bauer has high hopes for Sonoma’s El Dorado Kitchen, Amanda Gold drops two stars on Larkspur’s Ristorante Fabrizio, Carol Ness experiences highs and lows at Riva Cucina in Berkeley, the Hounds discuss Tres Agaves, and the Tablehopper recaps her New York trip.

Digesting The Reviews: The Ritz, Tajine And More