Matter of Kauff combines reviews for two new diner-style restaurants, touting nice California ingredients: Grub in the Mission and Citizen's Band in SoMa. At the former, "Chef Enrique Vives' kitchen produces some solid cooking," but an "uneasy mishmash of higher-end culinary aspirations and comfort food made me feel like it didn't have a clear vision of what it was trying to do." Not so at Citizen's Band where the "point of view is personal, considered, and consistent." Sadly though, there are flops, like "leathery and brittle" mac and cheese. But we get the sense Kauff would go back to Citizen's Band, to see if chef Chris Beerman has refined his few missteps. Afterall, if anyone could "sell molecular gastronomy to truck-stop regulars" it could be Beerman. [SF Weekly]
Bridge Traffic Bauer pays a return visit to Flora to try the new, "back-to-basics" menu from Rico Rivera: "Returning to simpler food wasn't a bad idea, especially given the bar and grill setting, but it seems like the prices, particularly for main courses, don't reflect the more modest preparations." Most things are disappointing, but his fallback Corpse Reviver, nice servers and a bar where "the people are interesting" help just enough to keep Flora in 2 starville. So what happens when Bauer doesn't like the folks at the bar? One can only hypothesize. [Chron]
Reidinger heads high above 6th Street to Passion Cafe where the "food carries mostly French nomenclature and takes a variety of familiar French forms," although "white rice is served on a scale I have never remotely seen in France." Then pate is "like a bit of old shoe sole," but chocolate mousse cake "was fluffy and light as laundry taken fresh from the dryer." And it's hard to tell if Reidinger sort of hates it here or had a semi-pleasant experience. [SFBG]
ELSEWHERE: The second Datebook review is of Osteria Coppa where Chanan Kaman's pasta "really stands out," the EBX hits the reopened version of Giovanni Restaurant in Berkeley, The Merc has a high-end Indian dinner at Vedas and digs into Euro comfort at Nonni's Bistro, the Marin IJ hits unpretentious Fabrizio, Metro SV visits one of its favorite Ethiopian joints, Mudai Ethiopian and finally Stacy Finz takes a Bargain Bite out of Oakland's Claremont Diner, whilst Bar Bites go down at Paragon in Berkeley.