The Other Critics

Who’s Getting Zero Stars?; Kauffman Orgasms at Mission Chinese Food; Reidinger Not a Fan of Izakaya Sozai

The Scoop teases out the fact that Bauer is about slam an established S.F. restaurant with an ultra-rare zero stars for food, in tomorrow’s update review. The only evidence we can guess from, via partner Michael Murphy’s Twitter account, is a recent meal at Betelnut. But it could be anywhere really, though probably not a place that was on this year’s Top 100, which Betelnut was. [Scoop]

Meanwhile over at the Weekly, Kauffman is at first in love with Mission Chinese Food, the Chinese restaurant within a Chinese restaurant that sort of replaced Mission Street Food. Of their sizzling cumin lamb he writes, “[It’s] presented on an oven-hot iron plate, the lamb sends up a plume of smoke that smells like a row of Afghan kabob shops and has a magnetic effect on the couple at the next table, who lean over to investigate… the explosive flavor reverberates through your sinuses and down the vertebrae of your neck.”

But he goes on to describe a few flubs, saying of some of the dishes’ spiciness, “It’s not East-West fusion: It’s more like detonation.” He says to avoid the tiger salad and the char siu braised pork belly, but recommends the ma po tofu and Mongolian beef cheek, of which he writes “you[’ll] marvel at the depth of the sauce, its faint horseradish funk.” Also, sidenote: He writes on Twitter that he feels like Mission Chinese Food and Roy Choi’s Chego! in L.A. are “spiritual brethren.” [SF Weekly]

Paul Reidinger might have some more errata to add next week, after the name of the restaurant in his latest review, Izakaya Sozai, is misspelled in his headline (at least on the website, as ‘Sozei’). He goes to write some of his characteristically equivocal descriptions, like this one of a gross-sounding duck and blueberry port dish: “The port was vanishingly unpresent, while the meat itself was gamy and chewy, neither pleasant nor unpleasant.” He manages to recommend a couple of inconsequential side dishes, seaweed and carrots, and returns to equivocating about a bad fig tempura dessert: “The figs were neither sweet nor mealy inside, so call that a draw.” Whatever, Paul. If it’s bad, it’s bad! [SFBG]

Who’s Getting Zero Stars?; Kauffman Orgasms at Mission Chinese Food;