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Jan 8, 2014 10:07 AM

Pete Wells (NYT) on Tosca

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  1. Thanks for the link!

    1. Such a lackluster review about such a lackluster place, apart from the history. Maybe the New York connection made it inevitable for Wells and the Times, but it foes seem like a bit of a wasted road trip (the part I like best is the longing for Gage&Tollner; did Wells have to come all the way to SF to write about urban renewal?). There are many more interesting places he could have based a story/review on for a New York audience. I also think it reads in parts like an ad for Tosca, especially Bloomfield's quotes.

      1. *Eight* sentences at the very end for his opinion of the food.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Melanie Wong

          It's primarily an article about restoring and preserving classic restaurants and bars, Tosca in particular. The brief description of one meal there is secondary and doesn't really rise to the level of a proper review.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            Yes, but Tosca was never a classic restaurant (not as far back as any of us here can remember, anyway), or even arguably, a classic bar. A classic institution, yes, but that's something else.

            1. re: Jbirdsall

              I thought "a haven where unmoored eccentrics raise glasses with actors, go-go dancers, politicians, heavy-metal drummers, cops and Russian ballerinas" was a passable gloss on why many locals loved the old place.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Yes, for sure. But maybe Tosca would've been better for a travel piece than a food one. Look, I think Pete Wells is great. As Francis Lam has noted, he's a writer as much as he is a restaurant critic. It's just that Tosca seemed a weak focus for an important piece about historic preservation, and that—maybe because of the Bloomfield association—it was hard for a New York food writer to see that.

              2. re: Jbirdsall

                I don't think any argument can be made that Tosca wasn't a classic bar.

                The new owners haven't ruined the place, and they kept it afloat while restoring the classic details. Better yet, they introduced an Italian focused menu in North Beach. A rarity these days. Few if any other SF institutions have been treated with as much respect, during a time when knocking down buildings while leaving the facade is supposed to be preservation. Or a place like Moose's location is regarded as "historical".

                Their Lusty Lady concept sounds lame, but I don't think it's possible to overstate the importance of what they've done at Tosca. If the Irish Creams are drinkable, even better.