The Other Critics

Kauffman Sings the Praises of Cotogna; The Guardian Does a Year-End Wrap-Up; and Reidinger Reviews Moya

Jonathan Kauffman writes that Cotogna is “beautifully realized — translating everything that is so refined about [next-door big sister] Quince into classic California simplicity.” He loves the garganelli with rabbit and artichokes, which he describes as “pasta that rewarded the kind of quiet concentration we normally reserve for nigiri or single-estate chocolate.” The pizzas, he notes, “don’t make much of an impression” given what a great year for pizza this has been, and he says “the oven is used more memorably for pastas sauced in oven-braised meats.” [SF Weekly, Unterman’s earlier take]

Since Reidinger can’t be trusted to write a year-end wrap-up without getting hung up on the meaning of listicles and lamenting the futility of all, the Guardian turns to Virginia Miller (of PerfectSpotSF fame) to sum up the best new restaurants of 2010. She wants to cover both “cheaper and upscale openings,” but eschews the Benus and Saisons in order to make for a more eclectic list. She ends up selecting Baker & Banker, Barbacco (both of which Bauer left off his own list), Commonwealth, Comstock Saloon, Curry Village (!), Heirloom Café, Prospect, The Sycamore (whose pork belly-stuffed doughnut holes in Maker’s Mark bourbon glaze are “pretty near orgasmic”), Sons & Daughters, and Una Pizza Napoletana. A good list, all in all. [SFBG]

Oh, but Reidinger’s still there, and he files a review of humble little SoMa Ethiopian joint Moya which just opened a couple months back. He laments, first, about the restaurant-gentrification of SoMa, writing, “The area isn’t yet devoid of modest, high-value restaurants, but the trend has bent strongly in the direction of pricey new places, from Prospect in the east to Bar Agricole in the once-forlorn west.” He notes the “lovely element of sourness” in a couple items, like the housemade ayb (like cottage cheese) and the injera (spongey bread), and he enjoys the “robust” spiciness of the kitfo and ye doro tibs. [SFBG]

Kauffman Sings the Praises of Cotogna; The Guardian Does a Year-End