The Other Critics

Kauffman’s a Big Fan of the Food at Seven Hills; Reidinger Deigns to Dine With ‘Hipsters’ at Mission Chinese

Photo: Courtesy of Seven Hills

In his latest review, Jonathan Kauffman gives us a little background about the Alioto family and the relative youngster, Alexander, who recently opened his first restaurant in Russian Hill, called Seven Hills. The name is a tribute to the city his family has called home for generations, and the menu, Kauffman notes, “reads like a bildungsroman.” Dishes like spaghetti with Grandpa George’s sausage and a “grand version” of fettucine carbonara speak to Alioto’s development as a chef and his personal history, and Kauffman is wowed especially by raviolo uovo: “Egg yolk, ricotta, butter, truffle oil: opulent.” A seared duck breast, fanned out on the plate and garnished simply, he calls “the kind of dish your cooking-school instructor gives you an A+ for.” In summary, he writes, “Seven Hills is not fashionable, in the manner of the whole-animal butchers and the whizz-bang tech geeks, and the service can be off-puttingly inexperienced. But Alioto’s food can be very, very good.” [SF Weekly, Earlier menu, Earlier interview]

Paul Reidinger is just getting around to trying Mission Chinese Food, and naturally his review begins with the requisite preamble. “Hipsters have a certain reputation for shunning math — or is that meth? — and (perhaps because of being raised in a culture of shopping-mall vapidity) show a craving for any validating experience that can be described with the adjective ‘street.’” Thanks for that, Paul, but what’s this? You compliment them too? “Or maybe they just know good food, at a good price, when they find it.” He goes on to say that Danny Bowein’s food is “forceful… and gently incendiary,” by which we think he means “spicy.” He likes the sizzling cumin lamb, and says he wanted to put his face over the steamed pork dumplings for some “pork aromatherapy.” The salt cod fried rice is “very much like other fried rice dishes you’d find around town,” however. All told, he’s pleased, but in describing Lung Shan he seems a bit behind in thinking that this place is still some kind of down-low secret. [SFBG]

Kauffman’s a Big Fan of the Food at Seven Hills; Reidinger Deigns to Dine