El Kauff pays a visit to Daniel Patterson's first Oakland baby, Plum about a month after his new chef Charlie Parker came on board. At first blush "many of the most tricked-out dishes appealed to my brain more than my gut," but by the time Kauff's third visit comes to a close, he's ready to drop a "Flawless." Also on the chopping block are new pastry chef Deannie Hickox's desserts, which he calls "spectacles in themselves." So what to order at Plum? Kauff has hit-or-miss experiences with meats here and "the vegetables made the meal." [SF Weekly]
Reidinger ventures to Viva Goa on the "nondescript" Lombard St. where signature Goan dish vindaloo comes "in a number of guises." It sounds as if The Dinger would order the vegetable caldin and tandoori chicken again, but he wasn't in love with the lamb vindaloo or "gloppy" chicken cafreal. Also malabar jinga is "aromatic and exotic" and even the old standbys like saag paneer that "seem to get ordered every time" don't disappoint. [SFBG]
The Elsewhere: The lone Thursday Datebook review today is of Menlo Park's new Polish restaurant Bona, Bar Bites tries vegan Mexican cuisine at Gracias Madre, the Marin IJ likes the flan at Mill Valley's Cactus Cafe, Metro SV has a rare taste of American food at Scratch in Mountain View, EBX enjoys West Berkeley's Bread Project Cafe and The Merc finds Oakland's Grand Tavern quirky and charming.