The Other Critics

Birdsall Calls The Brixton ‘Fake, and Sad’; Matthews Is Mixed About Thermidor; Unterman Calls Irish Bank ‘Soulful’

Photo: Thrillist

Never one to mince words and never a fan of the mundane, the Weekly’s John Birdsall writes a review on SFoodie this week of The Brixton, being the first critic to do so and deciding, well, to hate on it. A lot. He starts by emphasizing the overwhelming whiteness of the Cow Hollow environs, and then knocks the owners for catering to such whiteness so unimaginatively, placating “a generation brought up celebrating birthdays at the Cheesecake Factory and Hard Rock Cafe.” Oh, but he doesn’t stop there. “What you can fault a place for is feeding those white people dishes that riff off the mediocre foods of suburban big-box: spinach and artichoke dip, crisp-shelled mini tacos, brown ‘n’ serve rolls, canned pork and beans. It’s cynical. Dress it up like some rad artifact of punk-edged rock culture and it’s worse than cynical ― it’s sad.” Suffice it to say he’s not a fan of anything on the menu, except the sweet potato fries, and he’s insulted by the rock-and-roll photography and theme. Perhaps unnecessarily, in the name of punk cred, he adds, “[It’s] the last place Sid Vicious would’ve ever let himself be dragged to. Sid? He’d be shooting black tar heroin in the dirty-floored shitter at Lung Shan.” [SFoodie, Earlier slideshow]

Over at the Chron, Allen Matthews takes on Thermidor, lo these many months after everyone else. He finds things may not be the upswing, quality-wise, and notes a few missteps in the kitchen like an unfortunate bone shard in his oxtail croquette, and shell shards in his Dungeness crab and citrus salad. He’s a fan of the most basic dishes on the 60s-inspired menu, like the Caesar salad, the tartare, the brined pork chop, and the filet. As for the namesake Lobster Thermidor, he says “doesn’t pack the same punch” as the dish’s earlier incarnation, when the place opened. All told: two stars. [Chron, Unterman’s earlier take, Kauffman’s]

And finally, Patti U. goes to The Irish Bank in the FiDi, and sounds none too thrilled by the crowd — saying, “Even a regular Friday night happy-hour crowd at the Irish Bank… hints of St. Paddy’s Day madness.” She’s not too wowed by the food either, but offers a few kind words to the fish and chips, the Irish stew, and the corned beef, saying it’s “falling-apart soft but has plenty of meaty flavor.” [Examiner]

Birdsall Calls The Brixton ‘Fake, and Sad’; Matthews Is Mixed About