The Other Critics

Kauffman Says Plum Approaches ‘Flawless’; Reidinger Compares Viva Goa to Madhur Jaffrey

Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Jonathan Kauffman says he took his time getting over to Plum because of all the chef shuffling, but that newly installed chef de cuisine Charlie Parker is really hitting his stride. “My first two meals at Plum were intricate, playful, and a little wobbly. The last meal? Flawless.” He is quick to note that people who associate executive chef-owner Daniel Patterson with a lot of molecular gastronomic gadgetry shouldn’t be afraid of that here. “Occasionally someone will hoist a Pacojet… and cover a plate in puffy orange dots of winter-squash foam, which is about as geeky as it gets.” Kauffman’s favorite dish is a new addition: a plancha-seared squid with artichokes, fennel, and a creamy smoked black lentil purée. He wasn’t completely in love with a pork trotter dish, and notes the “gumminess” of the beef cheek and oxtail burger, which is now only available at lunch. Also, he says Deanie Hickox’s “new desserts were spectacles in themselves,” including a cheesecake in a jar. But all in all, “the vegetables made the meal.” [SF Weekly, Bauer’s earlier take]

Perhaps responding to our ongoing chiding, Paul Reidinger returns this week with a review of Viva Goa that actually quite straightforward and thorough! He does keep referring to Madhur Jaffrey’s new book At Home with Madhur Jaffrey, saying everyone who likes Goan food should get a copy, and comparing everything Viva Goa does to her stuff. He notes the “fragrant blaze” of the sauce in the lamb vindaloo, likes the vegetable caldin, and says that their saag paneer doesn’t disappoint. He prefers the tandoori chicken to the chicken cafreal, saying the pesto-like “coating did not quite convince.” He is back to his mostly un-thrilled self overall, and once again there is a photo of a dish he doesn’t mention (mussels tikka). [SFBG, Kauffman’s earlier take]

Kauffman Says Plum Approaches ‘Flawless’; Reidinger Compares Viva