This Wednesday, Mr. Bauer experiences a fair amount of sticker shock as he makes the trek to Marche in Menlo Park, where the French restaurant may not have received the notice about that downscale dining trend:
I ordered a drink and looked at the menu. The prices astounded me. The place is nice, I thought, but is it that nice? Seared foie gras was also $22. The least expensive main course was $32.
No wonder the place was less than half full on a Thursday night. Certainly the host who greeted us in casual sandals and denim trousers didn't look like she was expecting company ... I'm not sure the owners of Marché have aspirations to be a Gary Danko or a La Folie. Yet, their prices place them in that category. When customers are asked to pay top dollar, the restaurant is obliged to deliver.
So yeah, when the guy with the expense account complains about prices literally throughout every course, including dessert, you know something might. be. amiss. For Marche, the disconnect between price point and quality results in a demotion from its prior 2.5 stars down to two stars. [Chron]
The other Chron review also makes use of the two-star stamp, with Amanda Gold taking a look at the revamped and improved Nob Hill Grille: "At night, the restaurant has found its niche as a neighborhood spot, where locals might tuck into a vibrant beet salad with miniature goat cheese croquettes ($10), or an overflowing bowl of penne Bolognese ($16), enough to have dinner tonight plus leftovers for tomorrow. And for the most part, the food satisfies. On our first two visits, hardly anything was amiss." [Chron]
Paul Reidinger goes searching for diamonds in the rough at King of Dumpling on Taraval: "The truly fresh, handmade Chinese dumpling is a revelation, when you actually find one and bite into it. KoD's are warm and juicy inside their soft pouches of dough; eating one is like biting into a piece of perfectly fresh fruit that's been warmed by the sun, except the flavors aren't fruity but (in the main) meaty, with generous tweakings of ginger and garlic ... you get a dozen for about six bucks, and the individual dumplings aren't small." [SFBG]
The Meredith has a double-dip this week, hitting up a pair of Taishan Cafes in the Richmond: "If you're as intrigued as we were by such ingredients as eel, frog, Chinese sausage, and pig intestines, then walk right in. And have no fear if that doesn't sound alluring — there's plenty of less-challenging stuff, like chicken, spareribs, and duck." [SFW]
THE ELSEWHERE: The EBX has nothing but good things to say about the new Oliveto Cafe, the MIJ takes a long look at the "hip and hot" Mill Valley branch of Balboa Cafe, the Merc had a somewhat mixed review for Miss Pearl's Jam House, the Coco Times stopped by Hayward's Bijou late last week, and the Sunday Chron review was an encouraging 2.5-star one at Limon Rotisserie.