The Other Critics

The Guardian’s Cheap Eats Writer Visits Alameda; Reidinger Likes Passion Café; Kauffman Says Grub Is a ‘Mishmash’, But Citizen’s Band Is Good

What do our weary eyes find as we scan the webs for our weekly reviews in the alt weeklies? The new Cheap Eats column in the Guardian from L.E. Leone (which we’ve managed not to notice for so long) donning her best Michelle Tea-esque, hyper prose style to give us something that might be a review? Of a BBQ place in Alameda? There’s a lot of quotes, references to random friends of hers, and more scene-setting than Reidinger even dreamed possible. So, uh, cheers. [SFBG]

And furthermore at the Guardian, Reidinger pops into Passion Café on Sixth Street, which he obviously has to describe for those of us unfamiliar: “It has more than its share of honking horns, along with speeding traffic, trash spread like autumn leaves in sidewalk tree wells, and a Dante-esque population of the shattered and lost.” A propos of nothing, he notes, “Passion Café will never be confused with the Fifth Floor, a few blocks away. Fifth Floor is higher up, totally enclosed, and all but lacking a ground-level presence.” Then he goes on to discuss the food, saying the vegetable stew was OK, though not a stew, and the paté tasted leathery like “a bit of old shoe sole.” And he seems offended by the mountains of rice and/or salad served with everything. [SFBG]

Jonathan Kauffman meanwhile files a dual review of Grub and Citizen’s Band, both of which have an “upscale” comfort food thing in common. He says that Grub’s burger, which is a make-your-own situation, was “respectable,” at least in its beef incarnation, and the mac-and-cheese bar bored him. As for the rest of the menu, “Their approach to upscaling comfort food is to throw in as many tweaks as the chef thinks the dish can sustain — and he and I often disagreed in that regard.”

But he likes Citizen’s Band, calling chef Chris Beerman “a California-trained, technique-curious cook who loves making Any Highway USA road food.” He finds the dishes for the most part “personal, considered, and consistent,” and he recommends the pork chop, the “bacon and eggs,” and the burger. He found a few failures though, like the tuna casserole, and the tofu sandwich. [SF Weekly]

The Guardian’s Cheap Eats Writer Visits Alameda; Reidinger Likes