Tag Archives: Michael Bauer

12 East Bay restaurants make Bauer’s Top 100

The Dock at Linden Street. Photo: The Dock at Linden Street
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Michael Bauer’s list of the top 100 Bay Area restaurants causes a stir each spring. The San Francisco Chronicle food critic has been producing the compilation of his favorite spots for the past 20 years. His choices are typically San Francisco-heavy, but they do include a growing number — 12 this year — of East Bay restaurants.

In a nod to the increasing relevance and excitement of the East Bay food scene, none of the spots cut from the list this year came from our the right side of the Bay.

The two new additions to the East Bay list are both restaurants from James Syhabout. Bauer praised The Dock at Linden Street for its “uncanny skill for matching food to beer” and “unexpected” food combinations. He especially likes Syhabout’s crisp fried cranberry beans, curried lamb riblets with lime pickled chutney, and Caesar popcorn (“the best thing since caramel corn”).  … Continue reading »

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New restaurants Iyasare, Nido in Chronicle’s Top 100

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The phone at Iyasare Restaurant on Fourth Street in Berkeley started to ring a bit more urgently on Friday. Word had leaked out that the Japanese restaurant had been named to the San Francisco Chronicle’s list of top 100 restaurants – one of 20 new places on the list.

It’s already hard to get Friday or Saturday night reservations at Iyasare, a 50-seat restaurant opened by chef Shotaro Kamio and general manager Niall Cantwell just five months ago. When the Top 100 list is published on Sunday (an online version is available now for subscribers) the demand may be even stronger. … Continue reading »

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Ippuku’s owner: Making Japanese food with integrity

Christian Geideman, owner-chef of Ippuku in downtown Berkeley. Photo: Nicole Rosario
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He’s run a pizza joint in Montana and a Japanese restaurant in New Mexico, but Berkeley-bred Christian Geideman has perhaps earned the highest marks for coming home and opening a stylish izakaya restaurant, Ippuku, in downtown Berkeley.

Izakaya is Japan’s answer to the tapas bar or gastropub: a casual joint to go after work for strong drinks, small plates, and a chance to unwind with friends.

Ippuku opened two years ago on a strip that typically serves the student set and it’s been widely praised since then. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Michael Bauer heaped compliments on the place. Alice Waters is a regular and calls Ippuku one of her favorite spots to dine in town. And local chefs laud the restaurant for its drink list, including shochu (a distilled spirit typically made from barley, sweet potato, rice or black sugar) and craft beers on tap, as well as its authentic, Japanese fare. The restaurant showcases yakitori, or grilled skewers of just about any cut of meat from chicken, including neck, heart, liver, knee cartilage, shoulder blade, tail, gizzards, and skin.

Clearly, Geideman takes the trend of whole-beast cooking to heart. The dish that’s garnered most attention on the menu is chicken tartare. That’s raw chicken, topped with daikon sprouts, Korean chili paste, and a raw egg to the uninitiated — what Bauer described as “a double dose of culinary danger.” … Continue reading »

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Bauer on Comal: A restaurant I would have opened

The restaurant's exterior patio is heated and has its own bar
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For Michael Bauer, the Chronicle’s restaurant critic, Comal, which opened in downtown Berkeley in early May, has achieved a flawless debut.

Bauer has nothing but praise for the food prepared by former Delfina chef de cuisine Matt Gandin, which he describes as being prepared with “a subtly fresh fanaticism.” He admires the impeccable service, the state-of-the-art acoustics, courtesy of Berkeley’s Meyer Sound, the “meticulously designed” interiors, and the cocktails — “some of the best  in the Bay Area.”

He awards the restaurant three stars overall, and in each of the three categories considered — food, service and atmosphere, which translates as all-round “Excellent”, and concludes that, had he ever started a restaurant, it would be this one: “Comal is exactly the type of place I’d have liked to open.” … Continue reading »

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The culinary couple behind Berkeley’s Corso and Rivoli

Corso couple
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This is a story about a little neighborhood restaurant opened in 1994 — a shared vision between two partners in work and life, who built an acclaimed destination dining space serving up fresh, homey food with complex flavors and nods to Italian, French, and Californian cuisine.

And it’s the story of how this culinary couple followed the success of their first eatery by opening an authentic Tuscan trattoria nearby three years ago. That place proved popular with critics and customers too.

This is also the story of the enduring power of friendship and love. Friendship, respect, trust, admiration, and love in the face of the demise of a long-term marriage, where two people who see the essential good in each other decide it’s a bad idea to stay together. And so they go their separate ways personally but manage, despite the initial challenges of seeing the ex every single day, to keep working together as partners in a labor of love. … Continue reading »

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Bette’s Diner, Michael Bauer and 135,000 others

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Michael Bauer had breakfast at Bette’s Oceanview Diner on Berkeley’s Fourth Street on Sunday after Bette Kroening contacted him to tell him the perennially popular restaurant serves an astonishing 135,000 people ever year with just 45 tables. (But you probably knew that already if you’ve ever tried to get a table there — waits are practically mandatory, if very much worthwhile.)

The Chronicle’s restaurant critic enjoyed his ham and cheese omelet, “served kind of loose in the middle … Continue reading »

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Gather garners ‘good to excellent’ report

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In case you missed it, the Chronicle’s Michael Bauer reviewed Berkeley’s Gather Restaurant yesterday, as we predicted he might.

Bauer liked the deep-fried cardoons and the vegan charcuterie and described the atmosphere as “a little strident, earthy-crunchy and PC chic. It feels as if the Age of Aquarius has finally come to food.”

Read the full review here.

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Bauer heads to Sea Salt on a rainy night

sea salt
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We happen to know that San Francisco Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer has a perfectly gorgeous home in San Francisco, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t hop over to Berkeley occasionally to enjoy dinner on this side of the Bay.

We’ve reported before on his fondness for neighborhood eatery Wood Tavern. Last week he had dinner at Rivoli. Tonight he was at Sea Salt and had this to say:

Slow-cooked cauliflower with soft scrambled eggs at Sea … Continue reading »

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Michael Bauer at Gather

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Should we expect a fully fledged review of Berkeley’s Gather Restaurant in the Chron soon?

Michael Bauer had this to tweet last night:

At Gather in Berkeley: she had vegan charcuterie and a fruit drink; her date had house-cured meats and a glass of wine. Everyone’s happy

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