The Other Critics

Patti U. Calls Starbelly ‘Indispensable’; Bauer Goes Vegan for a Day at Gracias Madre

Patricia Unterman swings through the almost-year-old Starbelly in her latest review, and notes that chef Adam Timney’s “quirky California eclecticism” and the staff’s “inclusive esprit de corps” make the place stand out from its more Italian sister restos Beretta and Delarosa. She loves the charcuterie and the bavette steak, but not so much the pork shoulder. [Examiner]

Michael Bauer is astonished by the wonder of cashew cheese at vegan Mexican joint Gracias Madre, and doesn’t miss the lard in the vegan refried beans. “It’s amazing what expert spicing can do,” he writes, and his only knocks against chef Chandra Gilbert are the sameness of the flavors, what with all the cashew cheese, and the mushroom or asparagus tacos which he said “simply didn’t satisfy.” [Chron]

For his Thursday Datebook review, Bauer gave two and a half stars to Portuguese restaurant LaSalette in downtown Sonoma, recommending the small plates and appetizers in particular, and writing that “few restaurants handle honeycomb tripe as well.” [Chron]

Also, Carol Ness headed to Oakland to try SR24, which she calls “a work in progress.” She recommends the sardines, the Green Goddess salad, and the fried chicken, but says the Piemontese steak is a disappointment. The décor she says reminded her of “Venus Williams’ outfit at last month’s French Open - red and black and what was she thinking?” [Chron]

Patti U. Calls Starbelly ‘Indispensable’; Bauer Goes Vegan for a Day