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Food & Drink

SF’s $100 bento box is the best takeout in the city

Rintaro’s takeout bento boxes are back—and still exquisite. Plus, LOJ is already creating a buzz in the Marina and a perfect cocktail for Pride.

Rinataro's bento box for two people
At $100, Rintaro’s beautiful bento box for two is a true gift to yourself and a friend. | Source: Jason Henry for The Standard

This is All Things Consumed, a weekly column by The Standard’s eaters-at-large featuring three great dishes we’ve eaten and one cocktail we’d happily drink again and again.

Deluxe bento for two at Rintaro 

There wasn’t much to celebrate during the worst of the pandemic, but I do recall the joy of excellent to-go options. With its exquisite bento boxes, Mission Japanese restaurant Rintaro served up some of the most stunning takeout from our dark-days era. Now, they’re back, and as luxurious and delicious as ever.

The deluxe bento box for two will set you back $100 and can only be picked up at the restaurant from 4 to 4:30 p.m. on weekends. But for a high-quality dinner in, I think it’s well worth it. The early summer bento includes two bamboo husk boxes and a pair of artfully wrapped ichigo daifuku, or pillow-soft strawberry mochi, for dessert. Prying off the lid of one box reveals a layer of sticky rice (a mix of Sacramento-grown Luna Koshihikari and Koda Farms mochi rices) adorned with tiny pickled cherry blossoms and two tender pieces of sake-simmered Bolinas black cod.

The other box houses a colorful jewel box of fish, meat and vegetables, including steamed asparagus and sugar snap peas, jiggly dashi-infused omelets and tiny skewers of minced chicken meatballs. Every component feels like a tiny, edible present—one that you can enjoy from the comfort of your couch. —LS

💰 $100
📍Izakaya Rintaro, 82 14th St., Mission

A tall pile of fried zucchini.
Little Original Joe's curly zucchini fries are an addictive starter. | Source: Sara Deseran/The Standard

Zucchini fries at Little Original Joe’s

If you think San Francisco is defined by the kind of precious Italian menu that offers wild nettle ravioli with Watson lamb sugo, then the Original Joe’s team is here to prove you wrong. The second Little Original Joe’s—the latest from the popular, three-generation restaurant group behind Original Joe’s and Elena’s—opened in the Marina at the end of May. And at 5 p.m. on a Monday (a Monday!), the no-reservation restaurant was packed with people happily inhaling some Italian-American nostalgia.

The space is big with chrome, mid-century-style chandeliers, high ceilings, long banquettes, an open kitchen with ox blood-red accents, and shiny gold heat lamps. The two-page menu includes pasta, pizza, steak, chicken soup with stars and filet of sole. The vibe is oversized too, almost Vegas in its proportions. People were snapping selfies with their martinis and wolfing down potato chips that arrive at the table gratis.

Their unbridled enthusiasm became infectious when the tower of zucchini “fries” arrived. I couldn’t stop eating the squiggles, dusted lightly with flour, fried to perfection and served with a shower of Parm and a squeeze of lemon. In fact, almost everything we ordered was showered in Parmesan—the bread knots with zesty marinara, the Caesar salad made with Little Gems, the classic chicken cutlet served with a pile of arugula. The service is on point and offers touches I haven’t seen since the ’90s, like a tableside ice bucket to chill your white wine. LOJ, as the restaurant calls itself, is clearly tapping into something that I think is rather basic: an insatiable hunger for things comforting, light and fun. —SD

📍Little Original Joe’s, 2301 Chestnut St., Marina 

A plate of yakitori skewers.
For a taste of Japan that doesn't require a passport, head to Yakitori Edomasa. | Source: Lauren Saria/The Standard

Yakitori set menu at Yakitori Edomasa

If you’ve recently been inundated with social media posts of friends slurping ramen in Kyoto and posing under cherry blossoms in Osaka, you’re not alone. Thanks to the weak yen, American tourists are flocking to Japan for budget getaways, leaving those of us still in San Francisco feeling Tokyo FOMO. My advice? Head to the Japan Center Mall, then wind your way up to the second floor, where Yakitori Edomasa sits in a quiet corner near the Kinokuniya bookstore. 

With low ceilings, black walls and booths separated by fluttering curtains, the restaurant feels worlds away from the city. The set menu provides a great sampling of yakitori, starting with a selection of soy-marinated vegetables and a bowl of luscious chicken broth, followed by four of Edomasa’s most popular skewers. Don’t overlook the nakamoto, a deboned chicken wing served with a homemade miso sauce, though the most exciting of the bunch will probably be the “heart stamina,” a combo of grilled chicken breast, crispy skin and slices of gamey heart. The meal might not fully satiate your craving for an international getaway, but the $30 price tag is a hell of a lot cheaper than a flight. —LS

📍Yakitori Edomasa, 1581 Webster St., Ste 270, Japantown

A cocktail in a fluted glass on a table.
The Fisch & Flore cocktail menu is where the restaurant's creativity shines. | Source: Astrid Kane/The Standard

The Sails Over Spice at Fisch & Flore

Throughout its decades-long history as America’s most famous gayborhood, the Castro has grappled with a knotty restaurant problem: Ambitious projects frequently fail. For the most part, it’s where people go to party, not to enjoy a sophisticated dining experience. The biggest exception to this rule might be Frances, although even that institution shed its Michelin star a decade ago.

The four-month-old Fisch & Flore might have figured out how to square this frustrating circle. A triangular-shaped, indoor-outdoor bistro and wine bar, it occupies the prominent corner space that had been Cafe Flore for nearly 50 years. It’s quickly become a hotspot for things like grilled oysters or branzino ceviche, though the cocktail program is where a wee bit of creativity shines. 

The very last drink on the menu is the Sails Over Spice, a mezcal-and-dark-rum combination with two types of bitters with dominant notes of clove and vermouth. It’s definitely not some overblown tiki concoction; there is no garnish at all. But it’s a winner: martini-adjacent, with a texture that’s smooth to the point of luscious. Is this a key element of Fisch & Flore’s recipe for success? I can’t see how it isn’t. Bon chance, and Happy Pride! —AK

💰 $15
📍Fisch & Flore, 2298 Market St., Castro, San Francisco

Lauren Saria can be reached at
Sara Deseran can be reached at
Astrid Kane can be reached at