The Other Critics

Bauer Has Left the Building, Lobs a Parting Shot at Café Des Amis; Unterman Enjoys Jade Dragon

Photo: Georg Lester/Grub Street

Mr. Bauer is currently on vacation in Vietnam, leaving his rabid, regular blog readership (sorry wescuewabbit!) bereft until November 8. But he left behind a doozy of a review of Café Des Amis, comparing the already popular Cow Hollow brasserie to a trip to Vegas and calling it “a barely break-even proposition.” (It doesn’t help that he was sitting next to a shrill Marina bachelorette party on his first visit.) He calls the grilled Ahi a “sodden mess” and says that while the blanquette de veau “looked photo-shoot perfect” it “tasted as if someone had wrung out all flavor.” He makes a point of saying he was “recognized as a reviewer” on one visit and given one of the prime, captain’s tables on the landing. (Note to new restaurants: Bauer dislikes being recognized or given preferential treatment.) He says the steak tartare is a winner, as is the grilled loup de mer Provencal, but the roast chicken “tasted of rancid garlic,” and his “warm strawberry gratin” wasn’t even warm. In the end, the place gets a dismal one star for food, and one and a half overall. [Chron]

Patti U. meanwhile heads down to Daly City, finding another under-the-radar Asian restaurant to review: Jade Dragon. The chef once cooked at China House Bistro on Balboa and at Shanghai 1930, but has been doing great work at Jade Dragon for a decade, and Patti can’t get enough of Shanghainese dishes like the “Shanghai Eight Precious, a melange of eight different chopped bits — among them pork, pressed tofu, soy beans, peanuts, black mushroom and preserved vegetable,” and the Shanghai Lion Head: “soft pork meatballs in soy-darkened braising liquid are laid just so on a mane of baby bok choy.” She also recommends the “taku choi,” now in season, which is “looks and tastes like a cross between bok choy and spinach.” [Examiner]

Bauer Has Left the Building, Lobs a Parting Shot at Café Des Amis; Unterman