The Great Bauerino makes his way back up to Brix in Yountville, where Anne Gingrass-Paik has taken over the kitchen after the disastrous, short-lived "25° Brix" endeavor. Last time we saw MB up there, he was delivering a memorable one-star smackdown, but this time around, things go much better, thankfully:
I can't say enough good things about the feel of the outdoor space, visible from the interior ... even though the restaurant looks the same, it feels like a new place. With Gingrass-Paik starring in the kitchen, Brix is again a good place to go for a comfortable, relaxed Wine Country experience.
Though Bauer is still not sold on the look of the remodeled interior ("something of a design mishmash"), you know the Big Fella loves the Gingrass-Paik's seasonal menu, inspired straight from that adjacent 16-acre garden. The end result is an upgrade to the 2.5-star level, which per the archives is the highest Brix has had in its four reviews. [Chron]
Paul Reidinger checks in on the other half of the (former) Gingrasses in a visit to David's downsized Two: "All the action, meanwhile, is in the front room, which is still dominated by the gigantic, copper-topped bar ... And, glory be, the food is as sublime as ever. Gingrass himself recently returned to the kitchen after a long hiatus, and he means to emphasize his longstanding interest in charcuterie and bread." [SFBG]
Meredith Brody is the major critic to pass judgment on Midi, Michelle Mah's modern brasserie on Sutter Street. Brody digs the cocktail program, but overall isn't terribly impressed with the Joie de Vivre production, due in part to some admittedly lofty comparisons: "I realized that part of my disappointment with Midi stemmed from recent visits to Range and Zuni Cafe ... Midi paled a bit in comparison. But nowadays — and in my opinion, always — $13 starters and $24 main courses should be more than just pleasant if you want your clientele to eagerly return." [SFW]
THE OTHER PAPERS: The CoCo Times tries the revamped Henry's in Berkeley's Hotel Durant, the EBX unearths "master-class sandwiches" at E-Z Stop Deli on Shattuck, the Merc files on Kaygetsu and has a quick bite at Mountain View's upscale Vietnamese fusion Xanh, the PressDem is at Pupuseria Salvadorena in Santa Rosa, and the MIJ finds an eclectic menu at Tuscany Country Grill.
THE ELSEWHERE: Mission Local takes an early look at Schmidt's Deli, 7x7 gives its stamp of approval to Little Skillet, KQED hits po' boy hotspot Yats, the Appeal has a food adventure at Troya in the Richmond, Single Guy is at Bund Shanghai in Chinatown, and the Sunday Chron review had 1.5 stars for the reborn Washbag.