Reidinger dines at the "archetypal American success story" that is Straits Restaurant in the Westfield. After overcoming "a slight wave of mallphobia," he finds "the homemade, slightly kitschy flavor" of the original Straits' decor in the Inner Richmond "has been lost." Thank goodness "the food remains recognizable," "vivid" and "excellent." There's comfort in "old favorite, roti prata" and chicken dishes, all $14 or less. The food's overall level of heat is "controlled" in line with menu designations. In summary, "I left Straits thinking that it could easily be in Vegas. It has the necessary scale and generic glamour; it's affordable and good. There's nothing not to like except that I don't like Las Vegas." [SFBG]
The Unstoppable Kauff learns how to steer through the 208 Northeastern Chinese menu items at Dong Bei Mama in the Inner Richmond. He warns to avoid dumplings, buns, noodles and anything else made with rice. The five spices pig head is much more palatable: "as exquisite as any tête pressée or coppa di testa in town," to be exact. Overall, the "Happy Family" section, a selection of stews served in woks, is the way to go. Also, the Dong Bei fish filet "as discreet as the Auto-Tuning on a Beyoncé song." And so much offal "it'd be easy to make up a whole-hog dinner on your own." The Kauff favorite? Crispy pig intestines. [SF Weekly]
The Elsewhere: The Marin IJ has some serious burgers at Cafe Joel, EBX hits the classic truck stop, Fifth Wheel Food, The Merc tries Pinole's Pear Street Bistro, Bar Bites tries the "counter menu" at Michael Mina, Bargain Bite has Mexican brunch at Tacobar and the Datebook review is of India Clay Oven's new Livermore brach.