Reidinger starts off his review of the new Michael Mina with a warning: he found Mina's first run at the Westin to have "awkward ergonomics and over fussy food — good food, of course, but expensive and show-offy." But he likes number two better as soon as he sits down: "ergonomics are much improved. And the food? Well, Mina still likes his flights, his arrays of one- or two-bite treats, but the general tone of things is more muscular." Though "the spell did weaken some with the main courses" -- too weak apparently to keep his attention on the review at hand as he dives into three paragraphs on politics. If you'd like to read Reidinger on "bail-outs for reckless Wall Streeters" and Sarah Palin, do give it a good read. [SFBG]
In todays Thursday Datebook review, Bauer revisits Murray Circle, the restaurant in the former enlisted men's barracks of Fort Baker. He reminds us of the 3 1/2 star food rating he gave the restaurant in 2008, before laying out his current thoughts: "I didn't feel quite the same connection. The food is still excellent, but the food is missing that almost indescribable "wow" factor; it seems as if the kitchen might be on autopilot." It's never good when broccoli florets are "nearly raw and crunchy" and a blondie seems "as if it had been hanging around the pastry kitchen too long." Yet by some miracle ("it's plenty good enough to lure me back"?) the food hangs on to three stars and the overall rating stays at three. [Chron]
Beijing Restaurant has a new Outer Sunset branch where J.Kauff finds most of the food to be "as homey as a slice of warm bread." He goes on to perform us a true service, comparing the quality of its Northern Chinese staples to those served at other excellent joints in the genre: Little Beijing, Old Mandarin and San Dong House. "Beijing's cumin lamb ($9.95)...tastes anemic compared to the fervid seasoning of Old Mandarin's," for example. "So the homestyle food remains the reason to stop in." [SF Weekly]
The Elsewhere: The Metro SV thinks Pho 69 is an encouraging sign for the SoFA area of San Jose, Marin IJ likes Sausalito's newest Italian spot Harbor View, the EBX checks out vegan hotspot Pizza Plaza, The Merc is at the not-too-Thai Thai spot Sala Restaurant, Bar Bites enjoys the mixed bag that is Geyserville's Diavola and finally Bargain Bite tries the vegan Mexican fare at Flacos in Berkeley.