For the second year in a row, the Chronicle is trying the thing where they entice people to pay for online subscriptions by publishing the updated Top 100 a week early on the site, partly behind a paywall. The actual 2015 list is publicly visible here, but if you click through to any of those links and don't have a subscription you will hit the paywall (the print edition comes in the May 17 paper). It looks like Mr. Bauer, who bemoans this process every year on his blog, managed to cull 13 restaurants from last year's list, and along with four restaurants from the list that closed in the last year, he was able to add 17 newcomers. (I actually count 20, but this math problem happens every year and somehow he manages to combine a couple of listings and make this work when you see the final printed list the online "complete list" has 105 entries on it.)
Most of the new additions are not shocking if you've been keeping up with his reviews the last year or so Press in St. Helena gets newly elevated, as does Kokkari after he found they'd upped their game. Newcomers Mourad, Monsieur Benjamin, and Liholiho Yacht Club all got a good reception from Bauer out of the gate. And, even though he's never been overly kind to chef Dominique Crenn for whatever reason, he sees fit to add Atelier Crenn this year after it snagged a second Michelin star.
The cuts are a little more surprising, including Bar Tartine, which Bauer loved just a couple years ago, but when he was back there last summer he said that while some dishes hit perfect notes, he found his palate "exhausted" after two separate dinners and it's possible he hasn't returned since. Also, two years ago, Sons & Daughters was one of his three-and-a-half-star favorites, but it has apparently slipped in his estimation, yet I don't believe there was a full update review to explain that.
And, once again, the list may get criticized for leaning heavily toward California-Mediterranean cuisine, and including perennial Bauer favorites like Gialina pizza, but very little ethnic cuisine. With the cutting of Lers Ros and Mateo's Cocina Latina, Thai and Mexican cuisines each have less representation (now Hawker Fare becomes the only Thai restaurant on the list, despite plenty of love on SFist and elsewhere for Kin Khao). But there is now plenty of Japanese represented with the additions of Kusakabe and Pabu.
Last August Bauer blogged about nine restaurants that, he felt, "deserved" to be added or added back to the Top 100 for the coming year, but they didn't all make it. Among those, for instance he add Trou Normand and Molina, for instance, but RN74 and Jardiniere did not make it back to their former spots of honor in the final accounting. As always, though, Bauer makes the concession that, "We have such a powerful restaurant scene that the list could swell to 150 or 200 and still exclude many excellent places."
In total, 10 restaurants have remained on this list all 20 years that Mr. Bauer has been writing it: Acquerello, Boulevard, Chez Panisse, French Laundry, La Folie, Swan Oyster Depot, Terra, Yank Sing, Zarzuela, and Zuni Cafe.
For comparison, you can find the 2014 list here.
The New Additions
The Dock at Linden Street
Liholiho Yacht Club
The Cuts and Closures
Abbot's Cellar *
Local's Corner *
Mateo's Cocina Latina
Sons & Daughters
*Closed in 2014-2015