The Chronicle's Michael Bauer used his Sunday column to throw some light shade at the W hotel's new dining experience, Trace. And what an experience it is. Taking over the old XYZ spot (the restaurant where Gavin Newsom used to dine privately, among other things), Trace opened this summer and jumped on the locavore food bandwagon with a resounding ker-plop. Take, for example, the restaurant's mission statement: "[T]houghtful culinary experience by fusing the vibrant, local personality of the Bay Area with our dedication to socially responsible food."
You get the idea.
In his review of the new SOMA space, Bauer is fair... but doesn't hold back:
Walking into Trace, the restyled restaurant in the W Hotel, was like opening a 1990s time capsule.
The tall, model-thin hosts wore tight black dresses and high heels, occasionally parading down the center of the long, narrow, black-and-white dining room as if they were on the catwalk.
They walked in time to trance music, so loud at times that I couldn't think of the next word out of my mouth, as if my dining companions would have known what I had said anyway. One table requested the volume be turned down, and there was a brief modicum of relief before the sound level crept back up. The incongruous music was even louder on another visit.
While Trace's refreshing fig-on-a-plate-free bent should keep insufferable Mission district foodie ewes at bay (a bonus in our, or any, book), cocaine-driven sounds at these restaurant-turned-nightclubs are a surefire recipe for vacant tables and the seat-yourself-anywhere french kiss of death.
Also, Patricia Unterman didn't care much for the space either, slamming its "relentlessly uncomfortable surroundings."
Both grub scribes, however, enjoyed Chef Paul Piscopo's food. More or less. "I could have been at Flour + Water or A16 when eating the braised pork shoulder," raves Bauer. (However, he did say plates were uneven.) "Ingredient-driven cooking," declared Unterman!