Try as he might, Tyler Florence has yet to garner a coveted three-star review from Michael Bauer — not with the popular downtown throwback restaurant Wayfare Tavern, nor at his casual Napa eatery Rotisserie & Wine, and now, not at Mill Valley’s El Paseo, either. Bauer writes that the renovated restaurant, with its charming brick alleyway that had to be replaced brick-by-brick, “feels like a gift to the city” of Mill Valley, and he says it “feels more organic and rustic” than it used to, in its days as a “romantic French retreat” (he ends up giving it three and a half stars for atmosphere). He also says that the menu “solidifies [Florence’s] intent as a chef,” and he begins by complimenting the pea soup and the bibb lettuce salad with Green Goddess dressing, but notes none of the other starters are standouts. (Oddly, he makes no mention of the yummy, pull-apart Parker House rolls.) He also loves the steaks, saying his New York strip was “cooked perfectly” and says the chicken-fried steak is “superb.”
He totally digs the mushroom risotto, using his familiar semi-superlative: “one of the best I’ve had in a restaurant.” The only entrée he didn’t like was the roast chicken, calling it “dry and mealy.”
His biggest complaint is about the service, noting one server who was too gregarious and said “delightful” a lot but left Bauer’s wine order sitting on the counter for ten minutes, and another too-tentative server who looked “barely out of high school.”
In the end, it’s another two-and-a-half stars, just like Wayfare and R&W; got. We’re pretty sure Tyler’s pissed about this, and that it’s unlikely to affect business either way.
El Paseo review: restaurant’s renovation works [Chron]
Earlier: Despite the Name, Bauer Is Impressed by Rotisserie & Wine
Bauer Gives Wayfare Two and a Half Stars