Restaurant Review

Criolla Kitchen

|
()

DINE The soft bigotry of low expectations — one of those marvelous phrases dreamed up by George W. Bush's hardworking speechwriters, who fed him their words the way you would put junk mail through a shredder — was on my mind recently when I walked into Criolla Kitchen, which earlier this spring replaced Bagdad Cafe at the corner of Market and Sanchez streets. My expectations were low. Why? Because Bagdad Cafe was the last titan of mediocre 24-hour gay diners in the Castro. Oh, it had its charms, and it had been there forever, but people weren't piling in for the food.Read more »

Alexander's Steakhouse

|
()

Don Pisto's

|
()

DINE Not all restaurants have mantras, but Don Pisto's must be "our kitchen is small." It's what we heard over and over from our server. Actually, we didn't hear her; we just read her lips as best we could. When Don Pisto's starts to fill up — and, being snug, it fills up quickly — it becomes as noisy a restaurant as I've been in. If you've ever stood near the end of a runway as a fully loaded 747 roared into the sky over your head, you'll have some idea of the decibels, which reach such levels as to become a fourth dimension. I was deafened. Maybe that was a mercy.Read more »

Morph

|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

DINE It's a competitive era in restaurant light fixtures, and this must be in part because light fixtures are one of the few levers designers can push to create a flourish. As with men's clothing (blue suit, gray suit, white shirt, blue shirt, brown shoes, black shoes?), restaurant design is largely a function of restraints and requirements, with few chances to have a bit of fun. Light fixtures, like neckties, offer a chance to add some pizzazz and style while also being useful.Read more »

Sushi Hunter

|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

If there are farms in Berkeley, there's no reason there shouldn't be sushi in North Beach, and there is, at Sushi Hunter. And it's not only pretty wonderful, but right near the heart of things, on the corner of the block that used to host the Washington Square Bar and Grill, or the Washbag, for any Herbalists who might still linger out there nursing their vodka gimlets and memories of the good old days.Read more »

Straits Restaurant

|
()

paulr@sfbg.com

If the archetypal American success story is, or was, the move to the bigger house in the better neighborhood, then Straits Restaurant (né Straits Cafe) is an archetypal American success. The restaurant, born late in the Reagan years in a modest corner spot in the inner Richmond, moved about five years ago to massive new digs in the Westfield Center, right in the heart of shoppers' city. It also became a small chain, with outposts on the Peninsula and as far afield as Houston and Atlanta.Read more »

Ideale

|
()