Week in Reviews: 2.5 Stars For E&O, Arnold Eric Wong

Miketastic pays a revisit to the 13-year-old E&O Trading Company, the Union Square staple now under the helm of Arnold Eric Wong, best known for his days at Eos and Bacar. E&O has seen plenty of highs (Barney Brown) and lows (its one-star takedown back in 2000), depending on its chef du jour, but AEW has the place flying high these days:

Although his new menu has been in place for only about a month, the food has regained a fresh, vibrant edge ... it's easy to see why people come to E & O; the location is right, and the food and exotic loft-like atmosphere take people to a place that's relaxed and fun.

But the improvements aren't limited to the kitchen, as service is hitting high notes and the atmosphere is still worth a trio of stars. The final Bauer conclusion is a return to E&O's original 2.5-star status. [Chron]

Singing backup this week in the Chron is Mandy Erickson, who has another 2.5 stars for San Mateo's cult favorite kaiseki joint, Wakuriya. Kaygetsu vet Katsuhiro Yamasaki is the chef/owner, and his monthly-changing menu is quickly causing a stir on the Peninsula: "A nine-course meal takes 2 1/2 hours, but each dish demands time to savor and contemplate. Wakuriya is slow food at its finest." [Chron]

Both weeklies hit Nopalito yesterday, each noting its odd location, no-resy policy, and natch, the excellent carnitas. Ladies first, Meredith Brody isn't big on the seating setup but will "gladly sit anywhere to savor [the food] — and endure a wait." At the Guardian, Paul Reidinger can't quite endorse Bauer's claim that the Nopa offshoot has "far and away the best Mexican food in the Bay Area," but he still thinks it "very good." [SFW/SFBG]

THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX files on Oakland's "striking yet sultry" Pican, the PressDem declares Brix back in top form, the NVR does three meals at Yountville's Bardessono, the CoCo Times has a "fun trip" at Oakland's funky Mua, the MIJ finds Chinese hot pot fun at Fondue Fusion in San Rafael, Bar Bites is at Magnolia, Meredith Brody takes to the blogs to chime in on the Mission's new media darling La Oaxaquena and the Sunday Chron review had a tres for Point Reyes Station's Osteria Stellina.

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