Maverick [Photo: Flickr/niallkennedy]
SF Weekly's new restaurant critic Anna Roth takes on the spicy Indian coastal cooking at Gajalee for her first full review. She advises to order mild on one's first visit if their tolerance for heat isn't high: "It isn't an inferno on first bite, but it builds into a slow burn over the course of the meal," she writes. In the end, she reckons it's "required eating" if only to be educated on a different sort of Indian food than is typical. [SF Weekly]
SFBG's Virginia Miller loves what new chef Emmanual Eng is doing for seven-year-old Mission standby Maverick. The fried chicken is "as fantastic as ever...But you'd be remiss not to branch out." All told: "attentive staff, intimate dining room, and unique explorations of a well-known regional cuisine exhibit what makes Southern cooking so beloved in the first place: heart." [SFBG]
Michael Bauer hoofs it up to Healdsburg to check out chef Louis Maldonado's revamp of Spoonbar and finds that it has "improved greatly." He's not fond at all of just listing ingredients on the menu ("a trend I wish would die rapidly") but he trusts Maldonado enough to tolerate it. He enthusiastically finds the results "composed and clever, stopping short of precious" and calls it one of his new favorite destinations in the county, rewarding it with three stars. [Chron]
Jesse Hirsch isn't a fancy fellow, so he's not put-off by the lack of finery at Prather Ranch offshoot American Eatery in the Ferry Building. He finds that it "brought its A game" and is a worthy competitor to other eateries in the hall like Il Cane Rosso. His favorite offering might be the grilled sausage, which is "beyond reproach." [Examiner]
THE ELSEWHERE: The Chron checks out Berkeley's Revival Bar and Kitchen, EBX tastes Santo Coyote, the Jaliscan "wallflower of Fruitvale"; Marin IJ is pleased at Muscio's; and the Merc is open and relaxed at San Mateo's Vault 164.