The Other Critics

Bauer Lauds the New Chef at Absinthe; A Few More Words on Frances From Esquire

Despite the fact that Mr. Bauer reviewed Jamie Lauren’s tenure at Absinthe barely two months after she started there in 2007, he gave her two and a half stars and said she “elevate[d]” the cuisine. In his update review of new chef Adam Keough’s work, Bauer notes what Lauren told Grub Street a few months ago about how she wouldn’t miss much about San Francisco, and gets in one last dig: “with the food being produced by Adam Keough, who took over the kitchen in mid-August, she won’t be missed much here, either.” Ouch! He says Keough’s Kurobuta pork rib-eye “is one of the most moist and full-flavored cuts of pork I’ve had in some time,” and he applauds a number of starter plates too like a melon salad with hearts of palm, and meatballs with a “vibrant” tomato sauce. All told, he grants the three stars Jamie Lauren never got. [Chron]

Writing in Esquire’s Best New Restaurants feature that we told you about last week, John Mariani articulates something we’ve tried to ourselves several times about Frances: that in being, at least on the surface, nothing special, it remains something special. “Frances epitomizes the emerging cooldown approach to feeding people… And the fact that it’s such an amiable place… makes the idea of a Sunday supper here all the more appealing. I recommend nothing in particular because no dish is more special than the next. Perello has worked in some high-end San Francisco restaurants — Charles Nob Hill, Fifth Floor — and at Frances she brings all she knows down to an elemental level. It’s all good. No, it’s all pretty wonderful.” [Esquire]

Bauer Lauds the New Chef at Absinthe; A Few More Words on Frances From