The Other Critics

Bauer Still Likes Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen; Unterman Has a ‘Drippy, Messy, Finger-Burning Ordeal’ at Craw Station

Cindy Pawlcyn
Cindy Pawlcyn Photo: BravoTV

Mr. Bauer revisits Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena, eight years after his last visit, and finds the place looking just “as fresh today as it did when it opened.” He still loves her Oysters Bingo (which became a mainstay at Buckeye Roadhouse when she was in charge there), achiote roasted pork tacos, and Pollo Loco, “a Mexican version of the Italian grilled chicken under a brick, topped with excellent avocado salsa and accompanied by cheese-stuffed poblano chiles.” Also, he calls the desserts “simple and satisfying,” but he says the chicken-fried steak was disappointing. The service, he says, seems markedly improved, but he sticks with their original rating: two and a half stars. [Chron]

Also, today finds Mr. Bauer offering up some favorite dishes that serve as clues about upcoming reviews. Among the things he’s enjoyed: tempura shishito peppers at Ki, poached chicken with fresh herbs at Hawker Fare, and the strawberry-pistachio tart at Mayfield Bakery & Café in Palo Alto. [Between Meals/Scoop]

And Jon Bonné does a Bar Bites column about Chotto, calling it “a raw bar that excels at the more obscure corners of the sashimi realm (ankimo, anyone?) and ambitious work with salads and fried dishes that exult in the delicacy of their Japanese roots.” [Chron]

Finally, Ms. Unterman braves the Asian-Cajun mashup that is Craw Station (1336 Ninth Avenue), and finds herself in “The drippy, messy, finger-burning ordeal of extracting the tail meat from a pound of crawfish in spicy Cajun boiling liquid [which is] is more fun than you might think.” Oh, Patti, always so winsome and up for adventure, you. For fried stuff, she recommends the catfish fingers and fried oysters. For the boils, she says the “medium hot” still packs plenty of heat on the Gulf shrimp and crawfish Cajun boils, and she recommends “simply boiled” for the Dungeness crab. She’s also pleasantly surprised to get out of their at under $25 a person. [Examiner]

Bauer Still Likes Cindy’s Backstreet Kitchen; Unterman Has a