The Other Critics

Bluestem Gets Sort of Lucky With Two Bauer Stars; Patty U. Calls Sichuan Home ‘Smashing’

Bluestem Brasserie
Bluestem Brasserie Photo: Grub Street

There was enough of a hint via his blog that Mr. Bauer wasn’t too impressed with the service at Bluestem Brasserie, and now his review is out, and the place should probably breathe a sigh of relief that he kindly placed them right at the two-star water line — the review, if you read it, sounds dangerously closer to one-and-and-a-half territory, but the physical space and a solid charcuterie platter save them. Bauer notes again that all the servers had their faces trained on their Blackberry-like ordering devices on his first two visits, and this felt “very Brave New World.” Also, servers got several things wrong, and he was unimpressed with a number of dishes, including a “gnarled” ribeye steak and an over-spiced roast chicken. Bauer’s biggest praise goes to pastry chef James Ormsby’s desserts, which he says are complicated but “come together flawlessly.” [Chron, Earlier slideshow]

Over at the Examiner, Ms. Unterman weighs in on a month-old Sichuan restaurant in the Outer Richmond called Sichuan Home (5037 Geary Boulevard), proving that she can sniff these things out — especially if they’re Asian — like no other. She says that “boyish” chef Lie Hong is off to a “smashing start,” and she goes on to recommend half of the menu, including the Chef’s Special Fish Stew and the House Special Chicken. And under the “Sichuan New Style Food” section of the menu, she adores the Nen Yow in Special Sauce, “runchy lotus root sandwiches filled with a thin layer of chopped pork that are battered and deep fried like dumplings and swathed in shocking, atomic red sweet-and-sour sauce that tastes astonishingly delicate and natural.” [Examiner]

And finally, we neglected to acknowledge Alan Matthews’s Thursday update review of Tamarindo in Oakland, which gets the requisite two stars that are the mark of his pay-grade. He loves this Mexican small-plates place because it’s always hoppin’ with people, unlike so many Oakland restaurants, and because the food “will not disappoint.” [Chron]

Bluestem Gets Sort of Lucky With Two Bauer Stars; Patty U. Calls Sichuan Home