Farina (SF)

In SF last weekend, we had a very nice meal at Farina. I am usually disappointed by Italian restaurants, but they did a very nice job. It is mostly Ligurian, and it is an underappreciated region, in my not-so-humble opinion.

Two complaints: first, the portions were way too large on the entrees, though the primi piatti were real primi and the antipasti appropriate as well. Second, the boar-filled pasta was underwhelming--braised to the point of no return, it had no gamey flavor. Could have been pig from the local supermarket, for all we could tell.

(l) Cappon Magro
(r) Stuffed Rack of Lamb


It's been a long time.

We are retooling re:critical towards a more easy-going (and less easy-spending) format. we'll still be critical--never fear--but reviewing reviewers was, frankly, too expensive. In order to find a restaurant that more than one publication had reviewed, we were often faced with expensive or astronomical choices. Ah well. Live and learn.


We will, henceforth, simply opine. Critically. Sardonically. Sarcastically. Hopefully more frequently.



I had the pleasure of eating at Cannonau (205 E. 4th Street) the other night. I would comment on the reviews thereof, but it has generally passed under the radar of the critics. A few snippets are available and, for once, are basically right on! Thankfully, many of the Sardinian dishes, including zuppetta di fregola, culurgiones (ricotta ravioli), suckling pig and roast wild boar, are all quite good; it is after all a Sardinian restaurant. Others miss, like malloredus al sugo, whose sauce simply did not come together properly. The wine list has many Sardinian wines, the likes of which are difficult to find in NY nad is, therefore, a pleasure. Adding to the pleasure, it is very reasonably priced and quite an attractive restaurant physically.

One critique (unsurprisingly). Ther menu is divided into Sardinian and "traditional Italian" dishes. It reminds me, frankly, of certain Chinese restaurants that have "American Chinese" dishes on the menu. I understand why they feel obligated to cater to American palates and sensibilities by offering such a haven from the foreign character of Sardinia; however, I can still lament it. In point of fact, the menu is not as dull as it could be (soft polenta with wild mushrooms), but l'Osso Buco, the one dish we tried that, although a special, was traditionally Italian, did not measure up. Che pena.


Today in Dinning: snarky self-aware comment or New York Times’ ironic editing?

I promised myself that I would wait until I had time to select a restaurant that had been review by multiple publications, assemble their reviews and go to the restaurant before commenting. I truly meant to avoid the simple grammatical and structural critiques that have followed my introductory recritique of Commerce. However, The New York Times has beaten me yet again, though at least it was not through the medium of Frank Bruni.

Look at the front page of the Times. Go to the bottom right. Find the normal location for its blurb about the food section. Snort at the DINNING section. Repeat.

There is the possibility, I suppose, that the editors have changed the section to the "Dinning" section, having recognized that it simply makes a din, and does not provide much information about dining and less about food. But I doubt it. Ironic editing error, though.


News Flash: NYC has run out of restaurants

I don't have the time at the moment to provide a more in-depth look at Bruni's opus pusillus (though I suppose that's a bit contradictory), but I did want to share my sadness that, apparently, NYC has run out of restaurants. All of the worthy restaurants that have opened since February 2007 have been reviewed. We have reach the bottom of the culinary barrel. Otherwise, why would Sr. Bruni have to repeat himself? I suppose we could posit that this is a review of David Chang, rather than Momofuku Ssam Bar, as Bruni seems to have a crush. But, if that is the case, at least change the title and own up to it!


R.I.B. Gael Greene

As some of you will have seen, Gael Greene, no longer the restaurant critic at New York Magazine, got the heave ho. For a restaurant review reviewer, this passes for gossip. Who could have known?

Although Greene had not been the restaurant reviewer at NYMag for some years now, she had remained a presence. Moreover, she created the feel of NYMag's reviews and their notable differences from the Times (i.e., more casual restaurants, other cuisines besides French); interestingly enough, Frank Bruni seems to think she was right to do so, as he has been doing the same at the Times recently. However, Greene's conscious choice to do so lacked the dumbing-down feel of Bruni, and so with a toast of early Thanksgiving champagne, I salute Sra. Greene for her years of service to the restaurant review industry. May you rest in the blogosphere.


Bruni’s Kurve Review

I don't even have to go to Kurve to criticize this review. Reading Bruni's scree, we might learn something about Kurve's d├ęcor. We might have learned something about its telephone issues. We learned that its DJ has eclectic taste in music. We might have thought he would discuss the food, after his teasing reference to spaghetti carbonara on an otherwise Asian menu, but Alas! Poor Bruni, I did know him well. We had to wade through more information about its servers' dressing habits (perhaps, they keep a milliner on staff?), before yet another tease about the menu. Finally, food?! No, no, a thousand times no.

If reviewing Kurve is "is shooting gills, fins and shells in a barrel," why can't I learn anything about the food?