This week, The Chronicle filed two reviews and one review-ish. Melanie Haupt weights in on Mettle, the new East Side hotspot from Bridget Dunlap, and Jessi Cape visits Daruma Ramen, an unlikely Dirty Sixth venture from the minds behind Komé. Additionally, Kate Thornberry reports on, and critiques, Sway's media event for their Moo Sway dinner.
Haupt praises Mettle's "playful riffs on bistro classics," but notes that at times, "the execution is secondary to the tinkering." Brunch is the clear winner, featuring "rich, piping-hot" fried chicken and "the morning's big surprise" of grilled fruit with chili and sesame oils. In terms of dinner, Haupt praises the "bright flavor" of the vegan chicaron, but calls the spaghetti a "muddle" and the potato chip gratin "a disappointment." Lunch got the worst report, from the "greasy" pork belly quesadilla to the grilled cheese with "the barest suggestion of cheese." Haupt writes that for the moment, Mettle is often the "culinary equivalent of jazz hands," but that diners should still, "watch this space."
Jessi Cape finds Daruma Ramen "darling", praising their "delicate spin on modern ramen." The chicken broth was "refreshing" and the Miso Ramen "the resounding favorite." The "wonderful" croquettes were also a standout, and the Plum and Shiso soft serve was a "sweet and salty" end to the meal. While Cape was disappointed that she could not add an optional "ginger bomb" to her bowl, overall her experience "guaranteed a return."
Over on the On The Range blog, Kate Thornberry finds the media event Moo Sway dinner "delicious" but the family-style sharing "awkward." Communal dining in general Thornberry finds better in theory than in practice, noting that she struggled with the dining room's "deafening roar." The food gets much better marks, with especial praise reserved for the salt-and-pepper tofu and the "best. banana split. ever." Thornberry concludes by observing that the dinner is "an impressive way to celebrate with a crowd." Though is the dinner prepared for twelve media professionals an accurate reflection of the event? The Chronicle did not list her write-up as a review, and Thornberry admits up front it was a media dinner, but this review-ish straddles an awkward line.
·Testing One's Mettle [Chronicle]
·Darling Daruma [Chronicle]
·The Moo Sway Roast Pork Shoulder Dinner [On the Range]