After a brief hiatus, Senor Bauer returns to the review circuit today with an updated take on Two. Now that longtime chef Bridget Batson has left the SoMa premises, David Gingrass is back in the kitchen, complete with a revamped menu. And thus, M-Biggity decides it's high time for a revisit:
Since becoming Two, the restaurant has taken on a more loungelike vibe because the main dining room is now in what used to be the bar ... It's an environment that feels right for a cocktail and a nibble, but less geared to a full-fledged three-course dinner, especially because the smaller plates are more successful than the larger ones.
When the place first converted from Hawthorne Lane two years ago, Two was awarded favorably, and this time around, it holds onto those same 2.5 stars, despite a non-glowing review. Also notable: you'll notice that Bauer subtly drops in the fact that he visited twice this time around. Traditionally, the norm for Chronicle dining updates is a single visit, a policy that came under scrutiny after the Acme review. Just sayin'. [Chron]
The secondary Chron review has Carey Sweet handing out another 2.5 stars to the new, bigger incarnation of downtown Santa Rosa's Cafe St. Rose: "On recent visits, [chef-owner Mark] Malicki proved that, yes, bigger can be better ... The mood is still come-as-you-are ... Part of the joy of Cafe St. Rose was, and remains, wondering what the menu will be. It changes daily, with various riffs on favorite ingredients." [Chron]
Matthew Stafford pinch-hits for Meredith Brody at the Weekly and takes the show to the buzzworthy Contigo: "Chef-owner Brett Emerson's take on Catalan cuisine is equally thoughtful and almost always worthwhile. The region's proclivity for simply prepared seasonal ingredients — the California-cuisine mantra, too — is embraced in Contigo's kitchens with just enough additional showbiz to keep things comfortably San Franciscan." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger files from Kuletoville, taking a look at Waterbar now that the seafood behemoth has settled into its Embarcadero digs. And surprise, it's become a bit more affordable recently: "Still, Waterbar is lovely and worthy, a place that, despite its deluxe location and big ownership names...offers something like value. Not many view restaurants can make that claim." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE: The CoCo Times is one of the earliest to opine on Oakland's flashy Pican, the PressDem finds some of Wine Country's best cooking at Madrona Manor, the EBX embraces uncooked food at Berkeley's Raw Energy, the MIJ revisits Marin Italian standby Il Davide, and the Sunday review had 2.5 stars for Danville's Esin.