Check, Please! Bay Area: Episode 9 (#109)

Check, Please! Bay Area’s episode 9 (#109) profiles and reviews these three Bay Area restaurants:

Watch episode (requires RealPlayer: windows | mac)
View photo gallery (flickr.com)

1) Pisces: [CLOSED] | restaurant information | reviews |

2) Anh Hong Restaurant: | restaurant information | reviews |

3) Aziza: | restaurant information | reviews |

Leslie SbroccoMy name is Leslie Sbrocco and I’m the host of Check, Please! Bay Area. After each episode I’ll serve up a behind-the-scenes look at what went on during filming, including the wine we were sipping…

Gregory is a self-admitted food snob. He’s proud of his discriminating palate and searches for restaurants that only use the freshest ingredients. We were all surprised when he tore into Anh Hong about the freshness of the vegetables because that’s their specialty. Ah…to each his own. I was a little concerned that diminutive, sweet Shelley wouldn’t get a word in edgewise with all of us, but she was authoritative and talkative. Having just returned from a trip to Morocco, she was the perfect person to review Gregory’s Moroccan pick, Aziza. Tova showed up in the green room before the show with the best wardrobe. I wanted to wear all the coats she brought and she wanted to wear my fake eyelashes! She looked great and was full of energy (and opinions). Shelley and Tova actually live within blocks of one another so they’ve already planned to get together.

Wine of the Week:

2004 Redbank Winery, “The Widow Jones” Viognier, King Valley, Victoria, Australia $16
Ann Jones, a colorful character of King Valley lore, ran a hotel in the 1880s and threw a legendary party for a gang of outlaws. Must have been some bash since a wine is now named after the femme fatale. This Viognier is fleshy and full with floral and spice notes and flavors of tangerine and juicy melon.

Sponsor Wine of the Week:

2004 Five Rivers Winery Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County, California $12
Silky, fruit-driven Pinot is pleasure in a bottle but you rarely find it priced so affordably. Complex and classy, this wine easily matches versions costing twice as much. Pour it alongside pork tenderloin roasted with sliced plums and a sprig of fresh lavender.

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  • KS

    This show is my new favorite and I have yet to miss an episode. I hope you will keep the tone civil, shouting matches are not the best way to discuss good food.
    What I am annoyed by is the discrepancies in the restaurant quality and this was clearly evident in the Manresa-Bissap episode. The lawyer was clearly expecting 4* food at a small Ethiopian place just because she eats at those kinds of places and had recommended one. So her opinion was not objective and she seemed biased against cheap food instead of being open-minded. People seem to make this show a contest about making their recommended places “win” and seem to compare 2 places instead of weighing the strengths/weaknesses of each place.
    How can you expect anyone to compare 2 places when the average tab for Manresa(150) was 10 times the average bill at Bissap Baoabab?
    I hope you will guide people to be fair in their reviews because it is the only way to critique food.

  • KR

    I enjoy the program greatly. It is fun to live vicariously even if you do not plan to visit all the great food finds in the bay area.

    Episode 9 was irritating.

    Especially Gregory – the food snob was annoying.

    The use of the word “pathetic” to describe the food in a place chosen by another person at the table instantly soured the atmosphere.

    After that, it seemed everybody was trying to outdo others in trashing the others restaurant.

    What is the point of watching a program in which every restaurant chosen is trashed by the other two?

    Episode 10 by contrast was fun to watch.
    I plan to check out Cha Cha Cha soon.

  • lmk

    This episode saddened me. It reduced Check, Please! to Jerry Springer for Foodies.

  • km

    I’ve been to both Pisces and Aziza. Unfortunately, Pisces’ food has really slipped since 2003, but I wouldn’t characterize it as ‘pathetic’ as that horrible Gregory did. Their moule frites (mussels and fries) aren’t as tasty as what you’ll find in Belden Alley, but if you’re stuck on the Peninsula, it’s not a bad bet.

    Aziza is good, but it certainly does not deserve the high praise Gregory gave it, and it’s certainly not worth a trip to that dreary end of Geary. Admittedly, the bastiya is as good as they say and it can change your mind. But the drinks are waaaaay overpriced ($10 for a Fez–champagne and pomegranate juice) and the atmosphere reeks of Prada-clad 20-somethings.

  • KT

    I felt that this was the most interesting episode of Check, Please! I have seen thus far. I have been bored during previous shows where everyone agrees on everything. Some healthy, constructive debate is much more captivating! Sharing your honest opinion is different than attacking or criticizing – if you really didn’t like something, why should you lie just for the sake of being nice? The purpose of this show is to discuss your experience and not everyone shares the same preferences. In each episode, I try to figure out whose taste is the most similar to mine because I would be more likely to share their likes and dislikes. I am positive that I am not the only person who appreciated the “food snob’s” position and honesty. I hold restaurants to very high standards myself, and in a city with so many jewels, I am glad I won’t be wasting a trip and money on restaurants I probably wouldn’t like.

  • KR

    I too would like a honest review but you can say the same thing without hyperbole.
    A “Not worth the effort to travel” or “not good value for money” or “The fish was overcooked ” etc is fine or stating the dislike specifically e.g. the lady’s critique of the monkfish being tough
    .
    A hyperbolic use of “pathetic” or “laughable” sets off a hostile tone which then I feel biases the flow of conversation towards a confrontation.