For this week’s Chronicle, Brandon Watson heavily favored Shawn Cirkiel’s Bullfight to his previous short hotel dining stint at the Radisson. While there was room for improvement with pacing, Watson overall found the dishes distinct, like the seafood:
Branzino crudo ($12) is enlivened by a classic pipérade and green olive. Serrano ham lent some assertiveness to usually mild hake ($22). The richness of urchin roe ($9) was compounded with butter and the char of grilled bread. Instead of playing up the caramelized sear of diver scallops ($16) with something expected like corn, Bullfight uses hazelnuts in a romesco, then forgets propriety entirely by adding the bite of green onion.
Last week, Matthew Odam visited Sala & Betty for the Statesman, and found the restaurant suffering from an overwhelmed kitchen. That led to slow service and miscooked dishes. Comfort food highlights included the buttermilk biscuit with the works, bread pudding, and mushroom meatloaf. Also, the strong signature sandwiches:
Stuffed with juicy pork, the fat running crisp at its edges, the Betty ($8.50) is no dainty wallflower, doubling down on richness with smoked tomato aioli and green chili queso. The Mr. T. (named after Wilson’s husband, Terry) also packs fries into its layers of chewy smoked sirloin on a bolillo roll slathered with avocado aioli and blue cheese dressing ($10).