Kauffman Loves the Chicken Xacuti at Viva Goa; Reidinger Waxes On About Spire

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In reviewing the new Indian restaurant Viva Goa in the Marina, Jonathan Kauffman ponders a paradox this week: Whether to judge the 'authenticity' of a regional ethnic restaurant's cuisine when the chef is deliberately trying to adapt dishes for an American audience's tastes especially when said adaptations are good ones. "What a pain in the ass, the word authenticity, so unevenly applied, so subjectively measured." He concludes that taste trumps authenticity, and he loves the Portuguese-influenced Goan cuisine, especially dishes like the vegetable caldin and the chicken xacuti (pronounced sha-koo-tee), "one of the loveliest masalas I've tasted in months... the elegant suggestion of sweetness, the coyly floral aroma." Avoid, however, the fish cutlets and the seafood platter. [SF Weekly]

We'll keep this short, since Reidinger never does. He went to Spire, he likes it, especially the half chicken, which has "the marvelous crisp skin and slightly pressed look I associate with the Italian technique known as al mattone, or under a brick," and the halibut, "plated with lemon grits, tarragon leaves, and tomato quarters a colorful, tasty ensemble redolent of the season." [SFBG]