The Bizzauer visits seven-year-old tapas spot Ramblas, where new chef Ed Vigil has made the transition from refined American food at Olema Inn to Spanish cuisine in the Mission. Vigil is solid in the kitchen, though execution on all fronts could use some fine-tuning:
...two recent visits showed that the while the food is always good, at peak times preparations can veer off course and servers can become overwhelmed ... The staff isn't very good at changing out plates unless you ask. If you don't, some of the best dishes become jumbled with the leftovers on the plate. When the waiter took the plates but put the dirty utensils back on the table, we asked for new ones.
That said, the kitchen and the staff are good at pacing; even if at times you wait too long for food, it's preferable to the feeding frenzy that comes when everything arrives at once
Even though the pacing is laudable, the service is the low point, but the food remains decent enough for Ramblas to get a passable two stars from MB, with a final prediction that things will continue to improve: "The food is evolving under Vigil, and in all likelihood will continue to improve." [Chron]
Carey Sweet plays the role of the Bauer sidekick this week, and she has a very strong 2.5 stars for Sausalito's likable French restaurant Le Garage: "Definitely the menu is a draw, straightforward French and comfortably priced ... Le Garage is owned by two former employees from Chez Papa Bistrot in San Francisco - general manager Bruno Denis and executive chef Olivier Souvestre. They take care with details, like the doilies tucked under bowls and the faux French newspaper that wraps the bread, while keeping the food agreeably uncomplicated." [Chron]
Paul Reidinger counters the Ramblas review with his own Spanish experience—albeit with paella, not tapas—at Patio Español in the Excelsior: "At Patio Español, perhaps the most authentic Spanish restaurant in a city that doesn't have enough of them, the menu advised us that paella would be made to order and would take 25 minutes. These were encouraging signs... Despite the lack of crust, Patio Español's paella was tasty and convincing: plenty of seafood, nice color, the rice well-stained with saffron, the scale generous but not overwhelming." [SFBG]
Meredith Brody gives us a summary of a day in the life of Meredith Brody, as she files a double-review of sister restos Bellanico (lunch) and Aperto (dinner). After a perfect wonderful lunch at Bellanico, she simply adores Aperto too: "Every component of the Aperto experience, including the excellent service, seemed equally thoughtful ... With just one meal at each spot, Bellanico and Aperto had become two of our favorite restaurants." [SFW]
THE ELSEWHERE & THE BLOGS: The EBX does "tomorrow's burgers" at Amanda's in Berkeley, the Sept/Oct issue of Oakland Magazine tries out Mono, the MIJ is at Mill Valley's Vasco, Bay Area Bites takes an early look at Limon Rotisserie, Lady Hopstress appreciates "true San Francisco pizza" at Pauline's Pizza, Mapplr goes to South Park's Butler and Chef Bistro, NSAM has brunch at Bar Jules, and the Bauer Sunday review was a 2.5-star revisit to Phillipe Gardelle's new version of Clementine.