Perhaps inspired by the Postrio hubbub, Mikey Three Stars revisits Town Hall today. Since opening Town Hall to 2.5 stars in 2003, Doug Washington and the brothers Rosenthal have gone on to open Salt House and Anchor & Hope, all which have nabbed 2.5 stars. But, at long last, Town Hall reaches the three-star plateau today, thanks to the Rosenthal menu reaching new heights and tip-top service. That, and um, recent catastrophes:
However, since the restaurant opened, we've been through Katrina and a recession, setting the stage for Rosenthal's favorites to come to the forefront ... During a recent visit I was surprised at how bold and delicious the menu has become, starting with an appetizer that should cause a national sensation: cornmeal-crusted oysters.
Nearly all the Rosenthal plates are winners, but again, it's the service and tone set by Washington that makes the SoMa place a grown-up restaurant, adding up to an impressive 3.5 service stars, and the aforementioned three stars overall. Final Bauer assessment is that Town Hall "pulls out all the stops to make guests feel welcome."
Also in Datebook, Amanda Gold treks to the Outer Sunset to bestow a two stars upon Outerlands. One of her visits is marred when the Judah newcomer is unexpectedly closed because they ran out of food, and Gold is only slightly bitter: "Outerlands is essentially a soup-and-salad place, with one or two heartier (although not super-sized) dishes and a couple of sides thrown in for good measure. Co-owner Porcello says the idea is to build a meal from small plates and side dishes."
Paul Reidinger visits the monastery-esque Terzo, where the larger plates fall flat in comparison to their diminutive counterparts: "As is so often the case at small plate-ish restaurants that also offer some big plates, the latter at Terzo do not shine quite as brightly. I wonder if this doesn't have something to do with plentitude — delight diluted by too many bites."
Meredith Brody goes to Chinatown's Bund Shanghai, with much to recommend: "...you will enjoy some of the best Chinese food available in San Francisco, in an exciting new restaurant tucked among the old stalwarts. Finally, a Chinese restaurant in Chinatown that we can recommend unreservedly."
THE ELSEWHERE: The Press Dem finds an Italian winner at Cucina Paradiso in Petaluma, the EBX is at Berkeley's Azerbaijan Restaurant, the MIJ discovers North Indian cuisine in Fairfax at Cozy Cafe Lotus, the CocoTimes goes to Alamo's Peasant's Courtyard, No Salad takes an early look at Flour + Water, and the Sunday review had 2.5 stars for Midi.