The Other Critics

Kauffman Says Cedar Hill ‘Gets Barbecue Right’; Hirsch Reviews Freehouse

Jonathan Kauffman asserts that pitmaster Jon Rietz “gets barbecue right” at the six-month-old Cedar Hill in the Marina. He writes, “Cedar Hill’s meats come so close to transcending the mediocrity that smothers Bay Area barbecue,” but, alas, it isn’t consistently as awesome as it was on one of Kauffman’s visits. He described some “spectacular” smoked chicken (something we’ve also loved at Memphis Minnie’s, which is where Rietz formerly worked), and at least one instance of perfect, Texas-style brisket. But on different visits, the meat came out differently, and the Memphis-style ribs weren’t so great. [SF Weekly]

Over in the East Bay, Jesse Hirsch heads to the Berkeley campus to check out Freehouse, which is the revised version of Adagia, the restaurant in a former church on frat row which shut down last summer for an overhaul. The chef is now Kevin Kroger, formerly of Monk’s Kettle, and Hirsch notes some great black-bean cakes and a white bean cassoulet with “a deeply rewarding richness.” But there were some missteps, like some cold soup and several bland or under-seasoned dishes. He says it’s weird to apply the usual critical criteria to this place though, given that it’s “essentially a college brewpub.” And what do college kids know about food anyway? [EBX]

Kauffman Says Cedar Hill ‘Gets Barbecue Right’; Hirsch Reviews