The Other Critics

Bauer Gives Commonwealth Some Three-Star Love; Matthews Says Skool Ought to ‘Reel Them In’

Michael Bauer calls Commonwealth “the pacesetter” in the trend of finding high-end food in more casual settings — we would argue that’s Saison, but maybe by S.F. standards that’s not casual enough. Like he did with Saison, Bauer gives Commonwealth three stars and raves that chef Jason Fox “isn’t afraid to follow his passion” and lauds his “high-style food,” and “interesting juxtopositions.” He seems to like the salads, gives a special shout-out to the slow-cooked egg with matsutake mushrooms and Jerusalem artichoke, and he’s fan of the prawn-and-guinea-hen dish with the chocolate emulsion that’s gotten a lot of mixed responses, notably Kauffman’s. He shows his age a bit, sounding like he’s never dined in the Mission before when he refers to all the youngsters in the room, “some of whom look as if they would be more at home at an all-night rave than sipping red wine.” Oh, Michael, nobody goes to raves anymore. [Chron, Unterman’s earlier take]

And Allen Matthews stepped in last Thursday to file the Chron’s review of Skool, which he says is “pure San Francisco” with its Mediterranean-meets-Asia mash-ups. He seems to enjoy the place a bit more than Reidinger did (but does Reidinger really, truly ever enjoy himself?), and compliments the black cod, a simple mussel dish, and the rock shrimp risotto. He’s less in love with the coca flatbread or the panko salmon, but says in general that the dishes are “rich in subtlety.” It sounds like he made a full three visits, too, and recommends the crab sandwich at lunch. All told: two and a half stars, and therefore “very good.” [Chron]

Bauer Gives Commonwealth Some Three-Star Love; Matthews Says Skool Ought to