Monopoly man Michael Bauer starts out his review this week with a history lesson, cycling through the 100-year past of the Original U.S. Restaurant in North Beach. It’s all about the atmosphere at this born-again red sauce Italian joint that “continues to honor traditions and concentrates on Sicilian specialities.” Bauer wrote:
While the interior has been refreshed, it still feels like it’s been there for decades — as do some patrons who come with oxygen tanks in tow. Yet there are enough young diners that this new incarnation seems destined to seed future memories … Whether at lunch or dinner, the 128-seat dining room is filled with people drinking red wine and discussing their day’s events over a huge pile of pasta with red sauce. Service can be scattered, but when you hear the thick accent of the Italian waiter, it feels like you’re in a different world … It all adds up to a restaurant that straddles two eras. Like Original Joe’s, which relocated to North Beach a few years ago, the Original U.S. Restaurant preserves a piece of history and brings it gently into the 21st century.
Of the food, he enjoyed the “interesting” cabucio Sicilian sandwiches, spaghetti pesto Trapanese and “nicely balanced” Sicilian seafood stew. 2 stars.
The Elsewhere: Bauer also revisited Kin Khao, and despite some inconsistencies, he’s still “a fan,” especially of the “star” curries; Anna Roth wrote about excellent Peruvian at El Mono in El Cerrito, but not so much at El Aji in the Mission; Pete Kane found Afghani food he loved at Angela’s in Alameda; Luke Tsai was unsure about Casa Cubana in Oakland.