Food critics, love them or loathe them, generally avoid doling out negative reviews. When you have nothing nice to say, as the say, don't go back to the restaurant.
And yet, from time to time — bless them for it — a critic does go all in on a good pan. Such was the case, you may recall, when Pete Wells skewered Guy Fieri's horrorshow Times Square restaurant back in 2012, or more recently this January, raked Thomas Keller's Per Se over the coals in a lacerating two-star review.
In that vein, consider this scathing review of Tiburon's 1986-founded Mexican restaurant Guaymas from the Chronicle's chief food eater Michael Bauer. While billed as "authentic," Bauer found the place to taste "like the American version of the 1960s." And though it sounds as if Bauer had the opposite of this experience at Guaymas, he does give us something delicious to chew on. The burns might be a bit spicy, and they are very salty, but lo, they are good.
"Complimentary tortilla chips are the best part of the meal, but still pale in comparison to what you’ll find at other places."
"I’ve had better chicken enchiladas ($16.95) from the frozen-food case of Trader Joe’s."
"From start to finish we suffered through what tasted like a collection of cheap ingredients, poorly prepared."
"I was flabbergasted when I saw an article from 2014 where Thrillist named Guaymas one of the 21 best Mexican restaurants in America. Were we in the same restaurant? From what I had, it was one of the worst in the Bay Area." (Thrillist here)
"The one thing Guaymas has going for it is the ambience — an impressive outdoor deck overlooking the marina and San Francisco. Yet passable chips and a great view aren’t enough to keep me coming back."
Bauer also criticized service at Guaymas, noting that a waiter didn't bother bringing his bill. With one star, the critic appears to have flipped the script, serving them instead.