One dinner featured the best pasta dish I've had this year. Tender braised goat sat atop a swirl of wide homemade ribbons of papardelle ($14) made with black olives and garlic in the flour mixture. That olive flavor was heightened by a sauce of emulsified olive oil and citrus, the sage-laced dish covered by a light dusting of Parmesan cheese. It is the kind of dish that makes you want to grab for one of the mini-spatulas offered at Barley Swine and swipe every last drop of sauce from the bowl.While a few dishes miss the mark for the critic (including Alan Richman's hated boudin grits), overall Odam sees a rosy picture for the future of American food as charted by the Duck, focused on local sourcing and "thoughtful peasant food." The critic rates the restaurant an 8/10.
Melanie Haupt at The Chronicle visits Little Barrel & Brown, where she is disappointed by the service and confused by the food. Haupt describes the crowd as consisting of the "lumpen tourist masses" and "well-dressed destination diners." On the food:
The scallop dish ($24) was the biggest head-scratcher from among the entrées we tried. Three or four midsize scallops – a touch overcooked but not ruined – sat atop a bed of bacon-studded orzo swimming in a pungent pool of balsamic vinegar and garnished with out-of-season, out-of-place blackberries that made no sense in the dish. Perhaps chef Russell Dougherty could have reduced the blackberries with that balsamic vinegar and incorporated both sore-thumb ingredients more subtly and gracefully into the dish.The critic concludes that the restaurant offers some "nice flavors" but lacks "warmth and depth." [Chronicle]
THE BLOGS: Ginny's Austin first looks Licha's Cantina, Forks Up has their first look at LaV, Winebelly steals Mad Betty's heart, and Vegan Lazy Smurf finds vegan noodles at Xian Sushi & Noodle.
· A New Look and an Old Soul at Bryce Gilmore's Odd Duck [Statesman]
· Cold Comfort [Chronicle]
· All Week in Reviews [EATX]