Best of the Bay 2012: BEST KIND OF STRICT

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BEST KIND OF STRICT

If things have been rough on your soul lately, forget the prose of that insipid, chicken-related book series and turn your page to Israel's Strictly Kosher's matzo ball soup. While other deli's versions are salty, one-dimensional facsimiles of a real pick-me-up, the version at Israel's, which also does strictly Kosher catering, is home made by co-owner Faina Avrutina with savory broth to comfort you on windy days and massive matzo balls that'll fill you up just enough to not get blown sideways by gusts of outrageous fortune (throw in one of the excellent sufganiyots and you'll be even more ground-bound). And it's not just the eating that'll do you good — a genuinely kind staff soothes city-weary troubled minds and will make you feel like you just dipped into your parents' cozy kitchen.

5621 Geary, SF. (415) 752-3064, www.israelskosher.com