The Bauer Express rumbles into Walnut Creek to pay a revisit to Va de Vi, the older sister of the Presidio's Pres a Vi. While the flashier San Francisco offshoot might get more looks here in the city, perennial Top 100 entry Va de Vi maintains its role as the more serious, more consistent restaurant:
Each time I return, I'm impressed with the urban feel of the place. It's crowded and bustling, a restaurant that puts as much emphasis on the wine list as on the small-plates menu ... It's an eclectic, thoroughly enjoyable blend.
Va de Vi pulls off the wide-ranging menu quite well, and only a few minor service hiccups mar a review that was otherwise a clean three-star sweep. So, the Walnut Creek Bauer fave maintains the tres it first received in '04. [Chron]
Also in the Thursday Datebook (still sounds slightly odd, yes?), we have Amanda Gold bestowing 2.5 stars upon North Beach's Vicoletto. Handmade pastas get the nod as the menu highlight, but not before a generous heaping of burrata catches her fancy: "It would be worth eating at Vicoletto for the burrata ($18) alone, but after three visits, we found plenty of other reasons." Also worth noting are the "standout" desserts from pastry chef Ming Adler. [Chron]
Meredith Brody is the first major reviewer to check out what the legendary George Morrone is doing at the new and improved Sutro's at the Cliff House: "The menu was lush and ambitious, with a new emphasis on local, seasonal products, also crediting chef Brian O'Connor ... Morrone has kicked up the food at Sutro's more than just a notch with his hot spices and exciting flavor combinations. The Cliff House is now a destination for much more than just gazing at Ocean Beach." [SFW]
Paul Reidinger reviews Radio Africa, the self-described nomadic kitchen that has found a regular sofa to crash upon at Coffee Bar: "Despite the arresting name, Radio Africa and Kitchen is several steps removed from Africa. ...Much as I love the traditional way of presenting the highly spiced dishes of Ethiopia and Eritrea — family-style, on mats of injera — I was delighted to find some of the flavors of east Africa handled in a different way. They've been passed through a California filter, in a sense." [SFBG]
THE ELSEWHERE & THE BLOGS: The EBX finds crossover burritos at El Cerrito's Best Burritos, the MIJ is at Chad's Grill in Fairfax, Mademoiselle Broom has herself a fine bite at Terzo, No Salad says hello to Dennis Leary at the Sentinel, Single Guy finds Florence at Berkeley's Corso, and the Sunday Chron review had 2.5 stars for Ozumo East.