Guthrie's has a great cookbook collection. Too bad they're on the shelf.

Which is unfortunate because this schnitzel is no day at the beach. Slathered in monotone egg gravy bumped with sautéed mushrooms, the pork is dry, while the battered coating is spongy and clings loosely to the meat like a damp muumuu. The schnitzel can be ordered with a shirred egg (cooked in a small dish and covered with cream and bread crumbs). Sunny-side up is what I said when they asked how I wanted it, the customary shirred egg condition. But it was delivered a dirty over-easy, cream- and crumb-less, ditched off the side of the schnitzel like some pickup wreck.

Fillet of Black Angus beef was superb texturally: silky and juicy with fibers that all but dissipated across the tongue like a torpedo pop on a sun-baked vinyl bucket seat. But the meat had an off livery taste, and the maître d' butter possessed metallic, almost petroleum undertones. The spread of scalloped potatoes looked like a ravaged fish fillet, the slices resembling stretched halibut flakes. Yet unlike fish segments, these potatoes were hard because of some serious undercooking; a waxy spread lacking a tangy edge or even a spark of seasoning.

If those potatoes resembled fish, the fish resembled potatoes, at least in their insipidness. Baked cod in lemon butter sauce was a strip of flavorless sponge rubber, albeit one in a rich, buttery sauce with a nice citrus bite. And this set of teeth is exactly what the cioppino desperately craved. Guthrie's version of this classic San Francisco seafood stew has tomatoes, white wine, garlic and a few black olive slices plus a load of shrimp, cod, tiny scallops and lobster pieces. The seafood is plump and sturdy--perhaps a bit overcooked, maybe a little soapy. But the broth was staggeringly tepid; stripped of all acidic or pungent bites. The garlic, tomato or white wine in this stew must have been soaking their dentures.

Guthrie's needs to match the artistry on its chairs with more artful cooking on its plates.
Tom Jenkins
Guthrie's needs to match the artistry on its chairs with more artful cooking on its plates.


Caesar Cordini’s $8
Trout sautéed in rice paper $10
Tossed salad $6.50
Cioppino $28
Baked cod $16
Veal sauté $21
Pork schnitzel $18
Black Angus fillet $25
Blueberry cobbler $8
Closed Location

Weakness infected other spheres. Ordered with blue cheese dressing, the house salad, a fluff of frisee, red cabbage and other greens, was doused in a fluid that tasted like half 'n half thinned with tap water.

Guthrie says the menu is a combination of favorites from his defunct restaurant plus a few Rooster holdovers. These include Guthrie's all-you-can-eat fish fry and the amusing mostaccioli with vegetarian stuffed mushrooms. If nothing else, stuffing vegetarians into a mushroom is a compelling thought experiment. There is also veal sauté with mushrooms: a listless piece of veal dredged in flour and sautéed in butter, garlic and white wine. The meat is dry, the flavor remote and troubling, like a piece of freezer-burned turkey loaf.

We think we had a blueberry cobbler for dessert, but it was hard to tell. It was little more than a gluey froth streaked in milky blue creeping with those freezer-burn flavors; we shudder to think there could have been veal in it.

Guthrie says chef Tony Gardizi is poised to tear the menu to pieces and recast it within the next couple of weeks. Here's hoping Guthrie tosses in a little of the pith and vinegar he displays in conversation. It would taste better than the book.

3521 Oak Grove Road, 214-521-1234. Open 11 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-2 a.m. Friday & Saturday. $$$

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