The Other Critics

Hirsch Revels In Dude Food at HRD Coffee Shop; Boer Throws Back Some Whiskey and Comfort Food at American Oak

HRD's Mongolian cheesesteak.
HRD’s Mongolian cheesesteak. Photo: Brock Keeling/SFist

Jesse Hirsch decides to follow the “herd mentality” to SoMa’s dude-food haven HRD Coffee Shop (521 3rd Street), which usually has a line at lunch for its gonzo sandwich creations like the Mongolian cheesesteak, and fried oyster kimchee po’boy. “Over three visits, the male-to-female ratio averaged roughly 4 to 1,” he writes. “Whether this speaks more to the neighborhood’s demographics, or to HRD’s Guy Fieri-approved, mallet-over-the-noggin culinary style, I can’t begin to know.” He’s “bowled over” by each monstrosity, including the “Chinese breakfast burrito” stuffed with barbecue pork, hashbrowns, hot sauce, and eggs, but the actual pork in there is akin to “Panda Express-style takeout meat.” Still, he digs all the dishes with kimchee on them, and says the place is cheap and quirky enough to deserve a visit. [Examiner]

Meanwhile at the Chron, Nicholas Boer gets assigned to two-star territory this week, and he visits American Oak in Alameda — the nine-month-old incarnation of former tapas place Bar Celuna (2319 Santa Clara Avenue). He finds the place fitting enough for its setting with “a bar straight out of an old Western and a dining hall hinting of an upstairs brothel,” and he’s impressed with the whisky and rye selection — 180 in all. They’re trying to do the cocktail-pairing thing with the menu of American comfort food, and he says the concept works pretty well. He especially likes the wood-roasted chicken with its “moist, smoke-perfumed flesh,” and the halibut with shrimp, vegetable ragout, and shrimp jus. He also recommends the fried cauliflower, and the clam pizza, even though it was bready. All told: a predictable two stars. [Chron]

Hirsch Revels In Dude Food at HRD Coffee Shop; Boer Throws Back Some Whiskey and