Chronicle's Bargain Bites: Mostly Disgusted, but one Pancake Place...
- Jim Leff
Just read the annual "Bargain Bites" roundup in the SF Chronicle (see link below).
For how many more decades will SF restaurant critics extol Roosevelt Tamale Parlor before they actually set foot in the place again for a recheck and discover how disgusting it's been since the early 90's?? And...guys...La Taqueria is, like, a REALLY BOLD choice for the Mission, but I've got news for you: it's not "the best", it's just the most easily recycled....and Breads of India in Berkeley is stylish, but anybody who knows Indian food--as professional critics should--knows it's fake, and anybody who knows ANY kind of food knows it's lame, and that it prospers solely on basis of style and trendiness).
Anyway, end of rant.
One place that caught my eye was Millbrae Pancake House, at 1301 El Camino Real (at Ludeman), 650-589-2080. It's not included in the version of the article linked below (which left off the north, east, and south bay places), by the way.
does anyone know this place? Is it any good?
IMHO, not all the "bargains" listed by the Chron are bad. I agree that the list isn't all the impressive or useful. Many are just fine, have been recycled or have equally good rivals that the Chron doesn't seem to know about.
Some are quite good, (but also obvious) e.g. Ti Couz, Tita's, Shalimar, L'Osteria del Forno, King of Thai etc...
On the other hand, others are downright horrible choices: e.g. Zao, Citrus Club (any random place on Clement St or in the Sunset that makes noodles will easily put these 2 places to shame).
I'm still scratching my head over other choices. Yumma's for instance - it's fine, but most of us who eat around the Inner Sunset/Haight Ashbury area agree that Truly Mediterrenean is much better; I personally prefer Sunrise Deli and Just Like Home.
As for Breads of India, I've not been there myself, but from what I've heard from friends who like Indian food, it's actually quite good. Incidentally, many of these friends recommend Vik's which I don't think is on the list. If I do eat there sometime, I'll report back.
"IMHO, not all the "bargains" listed by the Chron are bad."
sure, of course not! I don't live in SF, so I don't know more than a handful of their picks. But most of those I'm acquainted with are wrong and lazy choices, and, of course, they've sure missed a whole lot of gems.
In any case, NONE of these picks should be bad. These guys are supposed to cover the area, they should know what they're talking about; their readers depend on them to be constantly out researching and sampling. But it doesn't work like that usually, alas.
I trust the opinions from the posters on this board about 5000% more.
re: Jim Leff
Taking a quick scan of all the regions in the Chronicle feature, the choices in SF seem the most warmed over, so to speak. Beats me how they decide which Asian restaurants among the many to feature.
It seems like a lot more effort was put into developing the piece for the South Bay region. More new material here (for Chron). Until about 6 years ago, this was a dining desert but this has changed considerably with the booming economy of Silicon Valley. Trying to drive south from SF in the morning sometimes feels like half the population of San Francisco is commuting to the Valley. Chron's gotta serve these readers. Also, SJ Merc has made a run at the SF market, and maybe Chron is having to compensate with more coverage of the South Bay.
I'll start a new thread on Breads of India.