Most of the news about hotel restaurants in San Francisco these days isn't gushy. The Ritz-Carlton is reformulating its high-end restaurant, Michael Mina moved his flagship restaurant out of the Westin St. Francis, and many of the prominent hotel restaurants from 10 years ago are locked in a cage of media silence. High-profile chefs like Dominique Crenn and Greg Dunmore have been leaving hotel restaurants to open their own, quirkier places.
So it's welcome to see David Bazirgan, who was last the chef of Chez Papa Resto, join Fifth Floor
in the Palomar Hotel in order to cook timely, creative food -- the subject of this week's full-length review
Bazirgan's food is intricate, wide-ranging, and sometimes too ornate. (Also a sign of the times.) It's no drop-in spot -- the more casual food he's preparing for the restaurant's lounge isn't really going to reel in the locals -- but Bazirgan is doing the now-rare feat of keeping the hotel's reputation as a destination vibrant.