The Other Critics

Kauffman May Have Eaten Too Much Pizza; Bauer Gets All Emotional for Sam’s Grill; More

It’s true: San Francisco is swimming in pizza these days. And nobody’s more ambivalently hip to this fact than Mr. Kauffman, who mostly sings the praises of the new major pie players before he even gets to Zero Zero, at which point he’s not that stoked to be writing about pizza. Long story short, although he qualifies the margherita as “almost on par with Tony Gemignani’s, which is to say, excellent,” he likes pretty much everything else at Bruce Hill’s new restaurant better than its “raison d’être.” He calls the Special Margherita (with buffalo milk mozzarella) “within the bounds of admirable,” and reserves a nice zinger for Hill’s specialty pies, e.g., the mushroom, leek, and thyme-covered Fillmore, a.k.a. “an upscale version of stadium nachos.” [SFWeekly]

Bauer meets up with an old, old friend named Sam’s Grill, and experiences “a blend of melancholy, nostalgia and hope.” After remarking on how everything from the wainscoting to the waiters seems a relic of times past, he turns his gaze to the clientele:

“Look over the shoulder-high partition that runs down the center of the restaurant and you’ll see cumulus clouds of white hair. There are some young faces, but these diners are generally there with their grandparents or great-grandparents.”

He goes on to be almost charmed by the menu’s lack of imagination, saying the clam chowder “had a tinny taste as if it came from a can”, while the crab cobb “could have used a little better presentation, but tasted good.” Sam’s holds on for dear life, and keeps its 2.5 stars. [Chron]

Meanwhile, hyperbole abounds in Herr Reidinger’s account of his visit to Papito. He goes pretty gaga for everything from Jocelyn Bulow’s hefty quesadillas — “this is a serious, heavyweight, meal-worthy quesadilla, not a finger snack for the middle of a busy Saturday afternoon” — to the pico de gallo, proclaiming, “Papito gives the old warhorse new life by making it with pineapple instead of tomato.” In the end, he characterizes his experience as “subtly transcendent.” He then goes home and weeps hot tears of guacamole. [SFBG]

Kauffman May Have Eaten Too Much Pizza; Bauer Gets All Emotional for Sam’s