The Other Critics

Patty U. Rounds Up Her Favorite Dishes of the Year; Bauer Likes the Restaurant at Wente

Patricia Unterman had a good and particularly diverse year of eating, as you can see from her roundup of favorite dishes which runs the gamut of ethnic cuisines from Venezuelan to Russian to Sichuan. She loves the arepas at Mr. Pollo, the steamed pork buns at Spice Kit, the red chili oil won tons at Sichuan Home, and the Cajun crawfish boil at Craw Station. And she says she can’t get the massive, meaty Gold-N-Berg-N-Stein sandwich at Deli Board out of her mind. We’re hungry now. [Examiner]

Michael Bauer says the Restaurant at Wente Vineyards is “on the rise,” food-wise at least. He loves the warm lamb pastrami and a petrale sole dish wrapped in mustard greens. He complains about some stale croutons in the rabbit chili, and some untrimmed artichokes in the otherwise “beautifully presented” roast chicken dish, but in general he says that chef Matt Greco’s decade of fine dining and casual experience in New York City shows in his food. The funniest part of the review, in his paragraph about some not-so-stellar service, is a quote from one of the “forgetful” servers, who checked back at one point saying, “How are you liking the beautiful flavors in the dish?” Ha. In the end: two and a half stars, with three stars for food. [Chron]

And over in Berkeley, Jesse Hirsch of the East Bay Express heads to Origen, the new restaurant in that cursed space most recently home to Locanda da Eva (2826 Telegraph). Hirsch admits the location kind of blows and aesthetics are the “low point” of the place, but “the chefs have good instincts, and they manage to pull off Spanish, Italian, Latin, and Asian-inflected dishes with equal aplomb.” He likes a squash salad, the red curry-rubbed pork shoulder, and a “rich” lingcod dish. As for the wordy, awkwardly bolded and multiply fonted menu that lists the purveyor of every last ingredient, he finds the co-chefs’ obvious enthusiasm “both exhausting and endearing.” [EBX]

Patty U. Rounds Up Her Favorite Dishes of the Year; Bauer Likes the Restaurant