The Other Critics

Reidinger Mostly Enjoys Skool; Kauffman Is Mostly Pleased With Bar Agricole; Bauer Explains His Star Ratings

Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Paul Reidinger is likely pleased to be the first to review Skool, which opened a little bit under the radar over in the Potrero back in July. He spends a moment discussing the conceptual conundrum of a “wood-fired pizza oven in a seafood house — in a seafood house tending in the direction of a sushi bar, no less,” and goes on to say that “the kitchen’s tendency seems to be not to let high-quality ingredients speak in their own voice without being interrupted.” He complains of too much butter in a “pan-grilled” salmon dish, and too much serrano chile and cilantro in a ceviche. He says the squid ink spaghettini with squid is “a treasure trove of complexity,” and he loves two non-seafood dishes: the mushroom risotto, and the flatbread with goat cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, tapenade, and greens. [SFBG]

Meanwhile at the Weekly, Kauffman is the fourth reviewer to get around to Bar Agricole, and thus far the least enthusiastic. He’s very fond of Thad Vogler’s “deftly composed” drinks, and he enjoys a number of chef Brandon Jew’s simple, garden-focused dishes, especially the kabocha squash with treviso, stracciatella (gooey burrata), and chervil; and both the rabbit sausage and the “boudinlike” black cod and crawfish sausage that was “all custard inside.” Things weren’t so consistent however, and he says one night, “several of the dishes were salty enough to push the pleasure-pain barrier.” Also, unlike Bauer who was delighted by a server filleting his sand dabs tableside, Kauffman complains of spending $19 on the dish and no one filleted them. Woops! [SF Weekly, Bauer’s take, Unterman’s take, Reidinger’s take]

And on the blog this a.m., Mr. Bauer once again discusses the often confusing calculus of the Chron’s star rating system, and he admits, “At times it even confuses me.” He says that there is a quality-to-value ratio for many of the ratings, and that he might reconsider giving Prospect three and a half stars, based on value, now that they have a $42 veal chop on the menu (it is a magnificent veal chop, however… we can attest). He says he will not be reviewing Locanda da Eva or Zut! because they don’t qualify as worthy destination places, and two and a half stars isn’t so much his fallback as it is his threshold — if he doesn’t think a place will earn two and a half stars he won’t bother with a review. We suppose that’s kind? [Chron]

Reidinger Mostly Enjoys Skool; Kauffman Is Mostly Pleased With Bar Agricole;