Local Spotlight

Two Ways to Get to Know Straits

Although it's been open for nearly two years, I've only recently gotten well-acquainted with Straits -- the subject of this week's cafe review -- and my biggest regret is not dining at the San Francisco import sooner.

Every time I've attended a cooking competition in which Straits chef John Sikhattana has competed, I've been impressed with his food. Just last weekend, Sikhattana won "Most Creative" at CultureMap's Backyard Burger grill-off with his Thai pork burgers topped with crispy pig skin. And at the recent Curry Crawl -- hosted at Straits -- Sikhattana's tamarind-and-curry-rubbed lamb chops (cooked to a beautiful medium-rare) was one of my favorite entries.

So why did it take me so long to actually enjoy Sikhattana's food in Straits itself? Mostly because we're spoiled for choice in Houston; for every five restaurants on my must-try list, ten more get added each week. All that matters now is that I'm preaching the gospel of the pan-Asian food served at Straits as a fun, adventurous and delicious way to pass an afternoon or evening at CityCentre.

And in case the Singaporean food served at Straits is a bit off your radar, the restaurant offers two great ways to get introduced to a cuisine that incorporates Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, Thai and Indonesian influences -- a cuisine that's as diverse as Houston.

Tasting Menus

Whether you're new to the cuisine or you just want to leave the decisions to someone else, Straits offers two tasting menus of its greatest hits. Each tasting menu is meant to serve two, so order accordingly.

The first is the Tiger Menu for $50, or $25 a person. It includes two of Straits's most popular appetizers and two of its most popular entrees: roti prata, Singapore satay sticks, spicy basil chicken, origami catfish and a big side of steamed jasmine rice.

The heftier tasting menu is the Dragon Menu for $80, or $40 a person. It comes with more of that crispy, buttery, flaky roti prata and also includes poh pia spring rolls, your choice of black pepper or Singapore chili lobster and a final entree of braised beef rendeng.

Moonlight Cinema Series

This is the event I've been looking forward to: a film series that makes ample use of Straits's big, beautiful patio. Starting on November 1, Straits will host a movie night on the first Thursday of every month from 10 p.m. to midnight. It's the perfect opportunity to grab some friends and sip some of Straits's cocktails while you nibble your way through Sikhattana's brand-new late night menu, which will debut at the first movie night.

The movie line-up is still being confirmed, but you can check in on the series at Straits's website.

Head to our cafe review to read more about Straits and then browse through our slideshow to see the hip, loungey dining room and cabana-filled patio for yourself.

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Katharine Shilcutt