Restaurant Review

Radish

Staging well-crafted feats of new all-American, neatly tucked away from the Valencia Street h-words

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Boxing Room

A warm Hayes Valley spot that punches up the Cajun trend with lagniappe, mirilton, and po'boys

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Txoko

Basque in the warm glow of this North Beach spot, serving northern Spanish-region favorites

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Bluestem Brasserie

Sean Canavan's dishes are exercises in well-controlled forcefulness, and James Ormsby's deserts offer a delightful finish

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paulr@sfbg.com

DINE In Bizarro world, dinner would begin with dessert — I know someone who truly hopes this particular sun will indeed rise in the west one day. And if your pastry chef happened to be James Ormsby, you not only would probably not get around to your savory courses, you might very well not be able to get up from the table. Ormsby, interestingly, is the pastry chef at the newly opened Bluestem, and he does not disappoint, though his confections are right where convention says they should be, at the end of the meal.Read more »

Una Pizza Napoletana

Pizza maestro Antonio Mangieri has created a pizzeria in his own hip, forward-thinking image

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paulr@sfbg.com

DINE If food is art (probably not, by the way), then Una Pizza Napoletana is probably the closest thing we have to a food-art installation.

This phrase, "art installation," isn't exactly euphonious. You install mufflers and software, and (if you're the new head coach of the 49ers) the West Coast offense. You install a new dishwasher. Art, whatever it may or may not be, deserves a more supple verb.Read more »

Straw

The carnival-themed restaurant in Hayes Valley wins our teddy bear with playful plates

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Perbacco

The five-year-old restaurant has a grand men's club air but stays true to its earthy Italian influences  

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paulr@sfbg.com

DINE In the little gathering of restaurants on the 200 block of California Street deep in the Financial District, Perbacco is one of the middle children, at least physically. Mid-block positions can be awkward for restaurants, since your would-be customers are likely to have to do a bit of searching for you instead of finding you in mighty command of some conspicuous corner. On the other hand, if your nearest neighbors are Michael Mina (née Aqua) and Tadich Grill, the foot-traffic factor could tilt in your favor.Read more »

Los Yaquis

Ruddy cheer, massive beers: drinking or not, Los Yaquis has solid, home-cooked Salvadoran food

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Criolla Kitchen

Doing delta right in the Castro, with crunchy mirliton salads, shrimp po'boys, and of course, hush puppies

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DINE The soft bigotry of low expectations — one of those marvelous phrases dreamed up by George W. Bush's hardworking speechwriters, who fed him their words the way you would put junk mail through a shredder — was on my mind recently when I walked into Criolla Kitchen, which earlier this spring replaced Bagdad Cafe at the corner of Market and Sanchez streets. My expectations were low. Why? Because Bagdad Cafe was the last titan of mediocre 24-hour gay diners in the Castro. Oh, it had its charms, and it had been there forever, but people weren't piling in for the food.Read more »

Zero Zero

Restaurant review: Clouds of dough, blistered attractively

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