The Other Critics

Bauer Loves the Food, Not the Ambiance at Txoko; Unterman Calls Locanda ‘Adventurous’ and ‘Sexy’

Txoko, in daylight. Doesn't look so dark to us!
Txoko, in daylight. Doesn’t look so dark to us! Photo: Brian Smeets/Grub Street

Sunday’s Chron review finds Mr. Bauer standing behind his previously crowned Rising Star, Txoko chef Ian Begg, and complimenting his food at the new restaurant with barely a breath of criticism. (This stands in marked contrast to Kauffman’s review from last week, in which he found most of Begg’s food falling victim to over-thinking.) Bauer goes so far as to say “the food is as refined as you’d find up the street at Coi,” which is kind of saying a lot! But even such sophisticated dishes as Begg’s halibut with fresh chickpeas and wax beans, or his bone-in ribeye which Bauer calls “one of the best steaks in the city,” can’t save the place from a middling two stars because the atmosphere “takes casualness to an extreme.” He’s no fan of the too-dark dining room and jars of silverware on the tables, thus bringing down the average from the three-star marks he gives to the food. Basically he’s telling the older crowd they aren’t going to like it here. [Chron]

Meanwhile, Patty U. takes a crack at Locanda, and sounds pleased but not overly enthusiastic about the place. She likes the pastas, especially the linguini with green friarelli peppers and anchovies, and the casarecci. She makes a rather odd aside, recommending “a nice, clean side of romano beans” to go with your oxtails instead of their smoked potato puré, because “otherwise you might die.” (?) And from the grill section of the menu, she calls the pancetta-wrapped guinea hen over lentils and dandelion greens “one of this town’s great dishes.” As for the interior, she’s a fan, but prefers the less noisy back room, and says the “retro-moderne Roman decor somehow reminds me of Fellini interiors from the ’60s.” [Examiner]

Bauer Loves the Food, Not the Ambiance at Txoko; Unterman Calls Locanda