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The First Word on China Live From Michael Bauer Is Here

Also: Pete Kane asks “where’s the beef?” at Hitachino Beer & Wagyu

China Live

Michael Bauer is ready to voice his opinion on China Live, “the Eataly of Chinese food,” this week and discovers the $20 million food complex is “still a work in progress.” The massive space has “a sophisticated feel,” and the menu is so long Bauer couldn’t get through it on five total visits. For average diners without a review budget, Bauer recommends the Peking duck (“I’d come here for that alone.”), and “anything out of the barbecue station is stellar” like the char siu or the pork belly in lotus buns.

The dumpling station is “also strong” and highlights include the vegetarian potstickers, the pan-fried pork dumplings and house specialty “water dumplings.” The xiao long bao, unfortunately, were too thick and the sauce overwhelmingly sweet. Likewise, the Marco Polo Zhajiangmian Minced Pork Noodles — a mouthful of a dish that ties Chinatown to North Beach with pasta made by Tony Gemignani — was “flat” and “bland.” On the other hand, Bauer found the the daily rotating veggie items to be much more interesting and the desserts were “ambitious.” Overall, the concept is “worth supporting” at two and a half stars.

Locanda

For his update review this week, Bauer breezed through Locanda to check in on new chef Melissa Reitz. The Locanda classics are still there, Bauer says, but Reitz is leaving her mark with “bold” lamb meatballs, the casarecce that “telescoped everything we love about spring,” and a take on cacio e pepe that caused “a contented sigh” to escape his lips. Dessert “continued to hold the line” and Bauer thinks Reitz can put Locanda back on the Top 100 next year. Three stars.

Hitachino Beer & Wagyu

At the Weekly, Pete Kane eats his way through Hitachino Beer & Wagyu’s $78 tasting menu and finds very little of the legendary Japanese beef. The meat in question “isn’t even proper wagyu,” Kane says, but the Japanese-American hybrid washugyu, and “even then, it might be larded up with so many competing flavors that the exercise of appreciating it feels futile.” A “disproportionate” four-once cut is available as a $160 add-on and the foie gras supplement came tacked on to another dish that didn’t need the extra richness.

While a bowl of kobujime cured fish with “soy burrata” was balanced and “well-constructed,” a beef tongue dish tasted like “humdrum Chinese food” and bowl of oxtail and daikon stew “approached total flavorlessness.” A bowl of sesame broth ramen was redeemed by an umami-rich broth and al dente noodles, “and that’s all that matters,” Kane says. With lackluster beer pairings and mediocre food, the whole thing is too expensive to recommend.

Elsewhere

Chris Ying visits his happy place: El Molino Central in Sonoma. East Bay Express staffer Momo Chang reviews the current state of the poke craze with a triple review in Oakland’s Chinatown.

China Live brings a modern voice to dining in Chinatown [Chron] Melissa Reitz guides Locanda with classics, newer dishes [Chron] Hitachino Magic Wand [SF Weekly]

Article by Andrew Dalton (c) Eater SF - All - Read full story here.