The Other Critics

Patti U. Rushes Back to Bistro Aix; Reidinger Gorges Himself at Garçon!; Bauer Lays Some Three-Star Love on Healdsburg’s Barndiva

Ms. Unterman is the first to swoop back in on the recently renovated and reopened Bistro Aix, saying it “looks marvelous — like its old self, but sleeker and sexier.” As for chef Jonathan Beard’s food, she says it’s as “lovable” as ever, reserving special praise for the chicken (“never [has one] had crisper skin nor juicier flesh”) and the perfectly simple spaghettini with tomato sauce (“I have traveled across The City at 10:30 p.m. for this one”). [SF Examiner]

Paul Reidinger perhaps chose Garçon! for this week’s review just so he could comment derisively on the exclamation point in the name (watch out, Chapeau!), but he ends up mostly mildly liking the food (per uje), calling it “solid” and saying that if nothing else, you won’t go home hungry. The chocolate ganache tart with sour cherries he calls “sublime.” [SFBG]

Mr. Bauer continues his coverage of the North Bay this week with a return trip to Barndiva in Healdsburg, which he previously panned saying it was “more like somebody’s expensive hobby than a real restaurant.” This time around, he calls the space “exciting,” the service “more professional and less quirky,” and chef Ryan Fancher’s food “stylish and complex.” All-in-all: a solid three stars. [Chron]

And last but not least, Amanda Gold got Tacolicious duty this week, and she loves the simplest tacos on the menu, if not the crowds. Also, she says the tuna tostada “is bound to become a signature dish” but the chile relleno “didn’t measure up.” [Chron]

Patti U. Rushes Back to Bistro Aix; Reidinger Gorges Himself at Garçon!; Bauer