The Other Critics

Michael Bauer Bestows Some Love on Lin Jia Asian Kitchen in Oakland; Patty U. Says Izakaya Sozai ‘Soars’

La Costanera
La Costanera

Veering from his usual course of higher profile and fancier eateries, Michael Bauer gave over his Sunday column this week to little Oakland eatery Lin Jia Asian Kitchen, where he says, “Just about every dish tells a story.” The food is pan-Asian, with nods to the family’s origins in the Hakka region of China, and their migration to Vietnam and finally to the States. There are dishes Bauer delights in like walnut shrimp, which features a “creamy sauce that balances coconut and mayonnaise flavors”; Changsha beef with “assertive” notes of cumin and chiles; and new-school dishes like “KFC” (Korean fried chicken). He notes a couple things, like the “forbidden crispy scallops,” were under-seasoned. All told: a business-boosting two and a half stars. [Chron]

And in his Thursday update review, Mr. Bauer revisted Peruvian restaurant-with-a-view La Costanera, down the coast in Montara, to which he originally gave two stars in early 2010. He says the service has improved, and he now loves the hot fried chicken, grilled pork ribs, and the adobo. Upon his return, he ups than half a star to 2.5. [Chron]

Ms. Unterman, meanwhile, takes us to busy and well established Sunset restaurant Izakaya Sozai (from the same owners as Nombe), and the first thing she notices is the line that forms outside by 7 p.m. for seats in the small dining room. (She does note, too, that they take reservations now.) Her favorite yakitori items include the bacon-wrapped mochi, the tsukune (chicken meatballs), and the nankotsu karaage (fried chicken cartilege). And she raves that their tonkotsu ramen “ranks at the top of all iterations in the Bay Area.” [Examiner]

Michael Bauer Bestows Some Love on Lin Jia Asian Kitchen in Oakland; Patty U.