The Other Critics

Reidinger Approves of the New Michael Mina, But Not Its Politics; Kauffman Likes the ‘Home-Style’ Dishes at the New Beijing

In case you couldn’t have guessed, Paul Reidinger has no patience for “expensive and show-offy” food, no matter how good. This is how he describes the old Michael Mina, but at the new one, in the former Aqua digs (252 California), he says, “the general tone of things is more muscular… and at times even rustic.” He says a rack of Prather Ranch lamb “offered real ooomph [sic],” but the “five seas” dish with the tasting of fish, which Bauer raved about (and we loved too) he says, “could have been an appetizer plate.” But then [oh god] he starts going off about the place being a “haven for the rich,” saying, “I have no issue with the rich per se — they, like the poor, will be with us always — but I feel no special urge to worship them or their achievements.” Really, Paul? And where are you going with this? Apparently a handful of commenters came after him for something he wrote about Republicans extending tax cuts, and he feels he should comment further about politics in this restaurant review. And herein we have another argument for why the Guardian ought to consider not doing restaurant reviews. [SFBG]

Meanwhile, Kauffman hoofs it out to the Outerlands to try the new branch of Beijing Restaurant (3925 Irving at 40th), a feat for which we give him kudos given that we prefer not to travel more than a couple of blocks in this cold. He seems to say you should skip the Peking duck, a dish newly added to Beijing’s repertoire, but he likes the homier dishes like the “warm pot with pickled cabbage,” which he calls a “January classic,” and the “stirred flour balls,” which are like little pea-size dumplings that “have a delicately chewy texture somewhere between gnocchi and spaetzle,” and which he says are far better than those at Old Mandarin. [SF Weekly]

Reidinger Approves of the New Michael Mina, But Not Its Politics; Kauffman Likes