The Other Critics

Carey Sweet Throws Farmstead a Bone; The Marin IJ Loves El Paseo; Bauer Revisits L’Appart

Farmstead's bar.
Farmstead’s bar. Photo: John Storey/Chron

This week Carey Sweet pens a kind little Bar Bites piece about Farmstead in St. Helena that could be seen as an apology for Michael Bauer’s harsh one-and-a-half-star review of the place last year. Food-wise, she finds several things to like: “You gotta love the preciousness of deviled eggs ($4) from fancy Araucana chickens, and the “potted pig” ($14), an unctuous pate served with spicy mustard.” And she says of the “rustic-chic bar” and crowd, “You could photograph a Burberry commercial here.” [Chron]

Writing in the Marin Independent Journal, Tanya Henry writes of Tyler Florence’s El Paseo, “Yes, prices are high, but the transformed El Paseo is one of those rare places where all components of the dining experience come together expertly.” She compliments the Parker House rolls and the “inspired sides,” but doesn’t say too much about the steak (which truly is the star of the show here). She also notes that Sammy Hagar sometimes pops up behind the bar, and the both he and Tyler are happy to sign autographs. [Marin IJ, Bauer’s take, Earlier slideshow]

L’Appart Resto
in San Anselmo, you may recall, has been undergoing some upheaval, shuttering last fall only to reopen in February with a new chef and more of a bistro focus. Mr. Bauer says “the food at the re-envisioned L’Appart is much the same, but not as expertly prepared or served as it was before.” He finds an heirloom tomato salad with watermelon to be “an ill-timed debut” for the summer fruits, and says chef Alexandre de Jesus is “pushing the season” with this one. (Any chef worth his salt should know not to be putting a tomato salad on the menu, in the season-obsessed Bay Area, this early.) Also, some French fries he ordered never arrived. Alas, a demotion to two stars. [Chron]

And Patty U. admits she’s been a little slow on the uptake with the S.F. street-food scene, saying she’s a bit of a snob when it comes to the stuff, having had such wonderful examples on trips to Asia. “The rolling kitchens in San Francisco feel removed and a bit soulless,” she writes. She makes the trek to Off the Grid one Friday nonetheless, and finds that Chairman Bao is doing OK steamed buns, but they aren’t as good as Spice Kit’s. She also says that Sataysfied’s pork satay is “perfect street food” and “Azalina’s warm banana beignets topped with coconut jam ($5) are a must.” [Examiner]

Carey Sweet Throws Farmstead a Bone; The Marin IJ Loves El Paseo; Bauer