The Other Critics

Miller Calls Baumé a ‘Game-Changer’; Kauffman Likes His Chicken at Roostertail; Hirsch Hits East Bay Wing Joints

A composed mushroom salad at Baumé.
A composed mushroom salad at Baumé. Photo: Courtesy of Baumé

The Guardian’s Virginia Miller returns to Baumé in Palo Alto as it enters its third year and finds that it remains “one of our best fine dining restaurants.” She notes the artfulness of chef Bruno Chemel’s presentations along with the strength of his technique and subtlety of flavors, and adds, “It’s one mighty expensive night out [$288 per person including pairings]. But there are more courses than there were before [almost 20 in total], more intermezzos, bites, and delights at every turn.” She calls out a “delicate” and “beautiful” autumn salad, and a “fatty” suckling pig in crispy skin as “a winning main.” But it’s obviously a complex, molecular, and epic experience that is hard to describe. All told, she’s a more enthusiastic fan than Bauer. [SFBG]

Jonathan Kauffman begins his review of two-month-old Roostertail Rotisserie (1963 Sutter) in Pacific Heights by pointing out the culinary pedigree of owners Gerard Darian and Tracy Green, who claim Postrio and Bix on their resumes. “Two cooks who could by rights be running the kitchens at $40-entrée places, manning the rotisserie and serving sandwiches with fries and coleslaw on the side? Sounds like a San Francisco kind of place.” He says the chicken was perfectly seasoned two out of three times he had it, and the sides are pretty good — especially the cole slaw and the mac-and-cheese. But he warns against the dinner salads, and the over-sweet house barbecue sauce. But he concludes on the blog today that Roostertail is “positioned to become a Boston Chicken for diners who demand better ingredients.” At least in Pacific Heights, anyway. [SF Weekly]

And across the Bay, Jesse Hirsch is rounding up wing joints in time for the Super Bowl. He ventures into the Ghost Town district of West Oakland for Red Buffalo (2935 Market Street), where “the sizzling hot wing, made with a combo of old-school Trappey’s fire sauce and fresh jalapeños, bowled [him] over with its intensity.” And he appreciates that everything is made by hand, and the wings were juicy and tender. He says Wingstop basically sucks, and their “dry garlic parmesan wing had a foul chalky flavor that clung to my palate like spoiled milk on the floor of a car.” At Wing Town Café in the Fruitvale, he likes “the mid-grade everyman wing” they serve, and notes it’s plumper and bigger than Wingstop’s. He says things are a little dry but the sauces “unobjectionable.” So, for the best wings in Oakland, you will need to venture into Ghost Town and (sort of) take your life in your hands. [EBX]

Miller Calls Baumé a ‘Game-Changer’; Kauffman Likes His Chicken