I love the Elbe and everything about it. It is the only place around here where you can get good German and Central European food at an affordable price, and I'd hate to lose it. I hope that it is not hurt by Bentson's mean-spirited and hostile review.
I've never found the variable quality that he cites, and since I've always eaten there at reasonable hours, I've not been troubled by noise from the bar next door. Why does he make such a big deal about this?
As to the food, I find Bentson's criticism erratic and nit-picking. I've never had the dried-up meat in any dish I've ordered. As for his comment on the limited wine list, I haven't tested it because I prefer beer, but I think it's unreasonable to compare it with what's available in a big gourmet restaurant, several times more expensive, with a "big name" chef and a sommelier.
Bentson reminds me of Michael Bauer's reviews in the Chronicle, who only reviews snooty restaurants that charge an arm and a leg and are priced far beyond what most of us can afford. Then, Bentson goes to the opposite extreme and compares Elbe's Kaswspaetzle with Kraft macaroni and cheese and asks why he can't have catsup with it.
Bentson doesn't seem to know what he wants Elbe to be, and it shows. To say the least, I was appalled by his review, which I found most ungenerous. I think he owes Elbe and its patrons an apology.
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