Restaurant Critic Roundup: Low-Country Cuisine Meets Farm-Driven California at Willie Jane

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

"The waiters have the ease (and the cheekbones) of models. The bartender rings herb-flavored seasonal variations on classic Southern cocktails like Old-Fashioned, Vieux Carres, and shrubs," says restaurant critic Jonathan Gold of Venice, Calif.'s Willie Jane.

This week in restaurant news, critic Jonathan Gold reviews Govind Armstrong's Willie Jane restuarant in Venice, Calif. Gold describes it as a "kind of a fantasy mash-up of Low Country cuisine with farm-driven California presentation, heavily reliant on the sharply tart notes," which he says have become Armstrong's trademark. "Many of the dishes may have their origins in the coastal Carolinas, but they are grounded in Venice soil."

In Virginia, critic Tom Sietsema says, "Elegant, meet industrial," at Ovvio Osteria, "an Italian restuarant with good, uncomplicated cooking." Here, Sietsema says the food reveals a personal touch, as chef Chris Watson says, "Everything you can chew here is made here."

In London, Gymkhana, which intends to "recreate the ambience of a British Raj-style Indian Club," is a restaurant where the "service is stiff and the sommelier may play the role of sherpa, helping you to scale the peaks of the wine list," says restaurant critic Richard Vines. Nonetheless, Vines says, "The food is so good, I have eaten here five times in just over a week, including lunch and dinner on the same day."

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: 10/2/2013

Critic Publication Restaurant Rating
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Lavagna 3 stars
Gael Greene Insatiable Critic Oda House  
Richard Vines Bloomberg Gymkhana 3 stars
Ryan Sutton Bloomberg Costata  
Michael Bauer San Francisco Chronicle Cavalier  
Tom Sietsema Washington Post Ovvio Osteria 2 stars
Tom Sietsema Washington Post M Cafe Bar  
William Porter Denver Post

Tony P's Bar & Pizzeria

2 stars
Devra First The Boston Globe Kirkland Tap & Trotter  
Jonathan Gold Los Angeles Times Willie Jane  
Brad A. Johnson OC Register

Jimmy's Famous American Tavern

Scott Reitz Dallas Observer El Corazon de Tejas  


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


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Haley Willard is The Daily Meal's assistant editor. Follow her on Twitter at @haleywillrd