The Other Critics

Kauffman Calls Leopold’s Food ‘Solid But Not Gut-Busting’; Reidinger Admires Biceps at Fondue Cowboy

It’s a trifecta of reviews of Leopold’s, all within a week of each other, as Kauffman weighs in with his take on the Austrian beer-and-schnitzel joint on Russian Hill. He enjoys the “casual and celebratory” mood of the place where everyone is constantly taking cameraphone photos of themselves with two-liter boots of beer. He says the pork trotters are “unctuous, salty, and almost overwhelmingly savory… [but they] didn’t come off nearly as fatty as I imagined,” and he highlights a favorite dish that Bauer and Unterman seem to have missed, the vegetable strudel: “a stack of sautéed kale, mushrooms, and carrots wrapped in a halo of golden pastry, with a pool of herb-flecked sour cream for swiping and a salad of frisée and pickled shallots to counteract the butter and cream. The surprise of the strudel was its seasoning — garlic and oregano, huh?!” He goes on to discuss the influence of the Italian side of the Alps, which “comes through only in a halfhearted mushroom pappardelle,” but he has some good words about the wiener schnitzel, if not the desserts. [SF Weekly, Bauer’s earlier take, and Unterman’s]

And Reidinger likewise ventures in Central European territory (sort of) at Fondue Cowboy, and as is his wont he first takes extensive note of the crowd: “groups of shrieking (and apparently heterosexual) 30-ish people, along with dottings of young gay men, heavy of bicep, who look as if they might have just stepped off the set of Cruising.” This is SoMa, after all, Paul… He insists on referring to their Outlaw fondue, made with cheddar, jalapeno, and beer, as a queso fundido, and though he seems to wish he had tortilla chips to dip in it, a plate of charcuterie is a decent substitute with sausage for dipping. As per usual, he appears to have only dined once and only tried the one savory fondue, about which he gives no particular opinion. But he raves about the dessert fondue called Happy Trails, with chocolate and a kick of cayenne, which he calls “sublime.” [SFBG]

Kauffman Calls Leopold’s Food ‘Solid But Not Gut-Busting’;