The Other Critics

Kauffman Also Calls Trace Kinda ‘90s; Bauer Says Station 1 Has Slipped; Miller Names Best Openings of 2011

The newly redesigned W, home of Trace.
The newly redesigned W, home of Trace.

Jonathan Kauffman chimes in this week following Bauer and Unterman’s side-by-side reviews with his thoughts on Trace, at the newly remodeled W Hotel. He’s on the same page with Bauer calling the place “a lounge scene reminiscent of SF’s dot-com boom,” and “a Ridley Scott nightclub,” and making a cheeky Portlandia reference: “The dream of the ‘90s is alive in Trace.” He’s more positive about the food, though not as gushing as Patty, saying that the pork shoulder and Piedmontese beef ribeye are both great dishes, and the lunch menu is pretty solid too. But he notes a number of missteps at dinner, including a veggie farro dish that he calls “a Moosewood Cookbook disaster.” [SF Weekly]

The newly redesigned W, home of Trace.

Meanwhile, Michael Bauer heads down to what was one of his favorite spots on the Peninsula, Station 1 in Woodside, to update his thoughts on the place after the departure of chef Zach Freitas. The three-course seasonal prix-fixe menu has gone up from $48 to $54, and the quality has gone down, he says, both in food execution and service. While a celery root soup still “shows how the food can soar with a little restraint,” he finds other dishes clumsy and overdone, like a heritage pork dish that “resembled scrapings from a Thanksgiving feast.” And he calls the dessert presentations “most unfortunate.” All told: a downgrade to two stars. [Chron]

And over at the Guardian, food-and-drink writer Virginia Miller reintroduces herself and formally introduces her weekly Appetite column, which each week will feature a mix of capsule reviews, cocktail notes, and whatever floats her boat. Also, she takes this moment to do a year-end wrap-up of best openings, both among cheap eats and mid-range places. She likes Wise Sons Deli and Hot Sauce and Panko, not to mention Nojo, Park Tavern, and the revamped Bar Tartine. [SFBG]

Kauffman Also Calls Trace Kinda ‘90s; Bauer Says Station 1 Has Slipped;