I took my friend out for a belated birthday lunch today, and since she works at Nordstrom, we decided to try Straits in Westfield Shopping Center. It has a Singaporean menu which reflects that country’s cultural diversity. Four of the major culinary influences are Malaysian/Indonesian, Chinese, Indian and Nonya. There are many small plates, salads and big plates to choose from, so to get optimum sampling in, we shared a few things. We had the Roti Prata, a crisp, buttery, griddled Indian flatbread with a yellow curry dipping sauce ($7). It had an interesting texture that was crisp, chewy, and flakey and it was definitely buttery, kind of like a pressed croissant. The Poh Pia are freshly made “spring rolls” filled with jicama, carrots, prawns, Chinese sausage, ground nuts and egg served with a spicy plum sauce ($9). We enjoyed them sans nuts with the plum sauce that I actually found mild and fruity, not at all spicy.
The Fuji Apple and Prawn Salad was piled high with julienned apple and jicama, cilantro and three poached prawns in a light lemongrass-mint vinaigrette ($12). It was refreshing, but it would have been nice to have one or two more pieces of shrimp. My favorite item was the Ahi Tuna Tower, chopped ahi tossed with ginger, onion and kaffir lime leaf served with cassava chips, wasabi and black pepper ($15). I liked how the light crunch of the chips balanced the softness of the sashimi, and the clear-your-sinuses kick from the wasabi brought the dish to life, in a good way. My friend had a mango flavored Singapore Soda ($4) and I tried their house-mixed lemongrass and mint beverage ($4) which was sweeter and less minty than I expected, but I guzzled it down nonetheless.
Everything was attractively presented and service was great. While none of the food I tried knocked my socks off, I can see Straits as a fun change of pace once in a while when you need to refuel while power-shopping or want to meet friends for drinks and a bite to eat in that neighborhood. Tip: Bring your movie ticket stub from any theater the same day and get 10% off lunch or dinner (not including alcohol). See their website for other locations including Burlingame and Santana Row in San Jose.