Restaurant Critic Roundup: ZZ's Clam Bar Serves Expensive Food and Unexpected Ambience

Every week, The Daily Meal rounds up restaurant reviews across America

Kitchen 208 is Charleston's newest brunch and lunch spot.

This week in restaurant news, critic Alan Richman reviews ZZ's Clam Bar, a high-security, no-reservation-no-entry place, with a website that is equally unhelpful, providing no menu, no hours, and no days of operation. There is a phone number, however it may be a stroke of luck if they answer. The restaurant itself is also nothing you would expect: "It's tiny, with four small tables pushed close together. They seat 10, max. They're marble-topped and set with pearl-handled flatware. There are anthurium in small vases, a towering arrangement of bird-of-paradise flowers preening in a corner. One wall is old brick. The other is old wallpaper. The floor is black-and-turquoise tile, the turquoise a shade found in Istanbul museums. The music is lilting, uplifting, a playlist like none I've heard in New York. I've never been anywhere like this."

Near San Francisco, "seeing and being seen trumps privacy" at restaurant A16. Critic Michael Bauer elaborates, "a glass garage door in front gives diners a view of College Avenue and the burrito shop across the street. When it's rolled up, the line between indoors and out blurs further." "The vibe is so integrated with the neighborhood," he says, "that you'd think the business had been open for years, rather than debuting in June."

Near Denver, critic William Porter reviews restaurant Udi's Pizza Cafe Bar. "Udi's first put its name on the Denver dining map with bakeries that craft artisan breads," he says, and "while it is still in the dough business, it has branched into casual restaurants, including Udi's Pizza Café Bar in Olde Town Arvada." Of the pies, he comments, "these are hand-made pies, and your inner kid will grin at the élan with which the bakers shape, stretch and toss the dough, and marvel at the speed of the saucing and layering of ingredients." 

As always, the ratings range from stars to bells to beans, but every review offers specialized insight into the food, atmosphere, and service of eateries in each city’s dining scene and the critics eating at them.


Restaurant Critic Roundup: 8/7/2013

Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Alan Richman GQ ZZ's Clam Bar 3 stars
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Flat Top  
Pete Wells The New York Times MP Taverna 1 star
Michael Bauer San Francisco Chronicle A16 Bomb
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles Times Chengdu Taste  
Brad A. Johnson OC Register Great Maple  
Tom Sietsema Washington Post Béarnaise  
William Porter Denver Post Udi's Pizza Cafe Bar 2.5 stars
Robert Moss Charleston City Paper Kitchen 208  


Click here for The Daily Meal's "Top Chefs Review — and Rate — America's Food Critics."

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Tyler Sullivan is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @atylersullivan