The Other Critics

Kauffman Charmed By the Cheese at Mozzeria; Bauer Swings Back to Sutro’s at the Cliff House

Mozzeria, in the former Il Cantuccio space.
Mozzeria, in the former Il Cantuccio space. Photo: via Mozzeria

Jonathan Kauffman finds that Mozzeria is filling an important niche on the ever-gentrifying 16th Street: that of an affordable neighborhood hangout. He says it’s “a destination precisely because it’s not a destination restaurant,” and he’s especially fond of their pizza with pancetta, fresh mozzarella, and onion jam, as well as all the dishes with house-made cheeses, like ricotta, burrata, and the “Mozzeria bar” which Virginia Miller previously cooed over (it’s a big fried stick of house-made mozzarella). He says their crust isn’t perfect, and some of the small plates “lack polish,” but he still thinks the place is a good value — you can get in and out for $25 and feel full — and he spends little time dwelling on the fact that most of the staff, and the owners, are deaf and using sign language the whole time. [SF Weekly]

Over at the Chronicle, Allen Matthews has a different, and much more positive take on Nob Hill’s Bouche than Kauffman recently did. Unlike Kauffman, he loves the weird-sounding marinated salmon dish sitting on top of phyllo dough, a poached egg, and crème fraiche. And he also loves chef Nicolas Borzee’s ceviche-style sardine dish, and his “fork-tender” lamb shoudler, but he admits some confusion with the dishes (similar to Kauffman), noting you should ask what you’re getting given the cryptic menu, and the sometimes weird combinations. Also, he admits he found a rock in his food one time, which is never good. But he really likes it nonetheless! All told: two stars. [Chron]

And Mr. Bauer files an update on Sutro’s, the nicer restaurant upstairs at the historic Cliff House. He’s in love with the view, and notes the checkered past that the restaurant has had, food-wise, before describing a series of dishes that “aspire” to greatness, and are all fairly good, though not spectacular. He writes, in a poetic mode, “It was easy to see that with a little tweaking, the dishes would soar as high as the gulls that fill the sky around the restaurant.” But, alas, they’re only soaring as high as two and a half stars right now. [Chron]

Kauffman Charmed By the Cheese at Mozzeria; Bauer Swings Back to Sutro’s