Sushi BBQ – Cold Rice, Bad Service

Sushi BBQ

Sushi BBQ

I’m guilty of not trying new things out but after my experience last Monday, I see why. I had an eye appointment with Dr. F. Adatia in the SE and decided to give Sushi BBQ a try. What a mistake!

The All-U-Can-Eat lunch special is a decent $15 per person price. Nigiri sushi includes salmon, tuna, shrimp, masago and tamago (or egg). Kitchen dishes include chicken teriyaki, agedashi tofu, chicken karage, salmon teriyaki, etc. And they have pizza bites too. A slice of salmon on top of spicy shrimp on a fried rice ball. (It was not as good as it looked and it didn’t look so hot either)

Sad to say, the nigiri rice was cold. And the fried eel maki had a taste of moldy bread in it. When I complained to the waiter, he brought it in to the sushi chef for examination then he came back and told me it was fine. Did the chef try it himself? I doubt he did.

They also had a Korean cooktop and Korean meat for you to cook your own. If you decide to order that, make sure you give yourself plenty of time because you are allotted 1.5 hours to eat and get out.

The decor is run down and dirty. I was surprised not to see a cockroach here and there. The service was horrible and they wouldn’t serve you a free cup of hot water. Instead they gave us an excuse that they don’t have hot water on the premise. Interesting. They do serve hot tea, don’t they?

My advice: stay away.

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Not Surf and Turf but Reef N Beef

Prime Rib and Pork Ribs Dinner

Prime Rib and Pork Ribs Dinner

I’m cutting back on red meat but I found myself ordering the Prime Rib and Port Rib dinner at the Reef N Beef restaurant in the NE. We wouldn’t have chosen this restaurant to go to but having a fantastic coupon from TeamBuy certainly helps.

From Monday to Thursday, there are a lot of locals that come in for a nice sit down dinner at this snazzy restaurant because of their Steak and Lobster special. At $29.95, the price can’t be beat.

Because we used a coupon, the daily special was not available to us so we had to order something from the menu. It’s a pretty decent menu with lots of good dishes to order. Being both a seafood and steak restaurant, you can expect to see a variety of dishes from the sea to the turf.

After serving drinks, the waitress brought a basket of garlic bread which helped calmed the hungry nerves. Next came our salads which had a fresh head of iceberg with tomato and cucumbers. Soup followed and we had both chose the French Onion soup. Surprisingly, it didn’t have the cheese baked on but instead, the waitress came and sprinkled it on.

My dinner arrived along with more garlic bread. The prime rib was good, not fatty like I’m used to but it was a little more cooked than medium rare. It was a nice generous serving and tender as expected. The pork ribs were good too, almost fall off the bone tender but I’m glad it didn’t. I chose a baked potato but there were also rice pilaf, stuffed potato or french fries. The carrots and broccoli were nicely steamed and seasoned.

Does it warrant a next time? Most definitely and the next time, we’ll try the Steak and Lobster special.

Reef 'n Beef on Urbanspoon

$20 for $40 worth of food?

Chicken Teriyaki

Chicken Teriyaki

I had a coupon to use up at Fuji Yama’s on 17th Avenue and 8th Avenue before it expired at the end of February. You know the type, pay $20 to get $40 worth of food. With this coupon, I had to give it to the hostess when I checked in. You also had to make reservations but I figured it was a good idea for a Friday night.

I have to admit that I’m always wary about giving up the coupon before ordering my food. How can I trust the restaurant? With a coupon at hand, would they cut back on my dish?

I ordered my usual which was the chicken teriyaki entree and a soft shell crab roll. My wife chose the salmon teriyaki and a sashimi salad. In my opinion, the teriyaki’s were worth the $13 – $15 price they charged. They were both tasty and satisfying.

The dinner  bill came out to a little over $50 for the two of us. With the $40 coupon, we paid $20 and walked out happy and stuffed. If you’re in the neighbourhood, call first and ask if they have any $20 for $40 gift cards left. If so, I would highly recommend that you buy them.
Fuji Yama on 17th on Urbanspoon

I’m Tongue Thai’d

Basil Chicken

Basil Chicken

I’m just 14 days away from getting on a plane and visiting Thailand for the first time. Last year when I when booked the trip, I promised myself I was going to visit countries that I enjoy the cuisine from. And so, I feel like sharing another restaurant with you that I really like. At Juree’s Thai Place, I like every dish they serve there. My favourite dish is the Fried Fish with special sauce but the Basil Chicken is exceptional too. The food is usually delicious with just the right amount of spice.

Unlike a lot of Thai restaurants in YYC that seem to bring a small bowl of the Tom Yum soup, Juree’s serves it to you in a large bowl that can be shared among the 2, 3 or 4 of you. I’m yet to find a Thai restaurant in town that still serves soup in the traditional slow cooker with a propane flame at the bottom. Please share a comment if you know of a Thai place in YYC that gives you an abundance of soup.

The one thing I really enjoy at Juree’s is the waitresses. They wear traditional Thai dresses that seem to make me feel like I was in Thailand already. They seem to speak Thai which is a good indication that the cook is Thai. Don’t you hate it when you hear Mexican in a Thai kitchen or Chinese in a Japanese sushi bar?
Juree's Thai Place on Urbanspoon

Crab Envy

Ginger and Green Onion Crab

Ginger and Green Onion Crab

When in Vancouver, you have to eat Asian food and ordering crab is a must-do. But be forewarned – it is one messy meal and you can’t eat it on the sidelines neither, meaning that you have to get in with both hands.

You can ask for a finger bowl but good luck on someone understanding what you want. Instead, make yourself one by taking your rice bowl and pouring some hot tea in it. If you can get yourself a slice of lemon, squeeze some juice into the tea and you have yourself a ‘finger bowl’.

Now get your fingers dirty by grabbing a piece of crab and tasting the sauce by sucking the juices off it. Let me recommend the Ginger and Green Onion sauce because it’s the tastiest and most popular.

Where to go? In Burnaby, you have to go to Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant on Kingsway, just east of Joyce Street. Order the special meal for 4 or 6 or 8 people and you’ll get the crab dish for free.

There will be plenty of food because their servings are very generous. And everything is so delicious there.
Rose Garden Seafood Restaurant 嘉好海鮮美食之家 on Urbanspoon

Misato’s for Lunch

Lunch Box at Misato's

Lunch Box at Misato’s

We used to go to Misato’s in Signal Hill a lot more but after their renovation last summer, we found they had jacked up their prices and hired more waitresses. When we used to go as often as we did, we started getting to know some of the servers but I can safely say, I don’t recognize any of them now. The sushi chefs behind the sushi bar are all familiar so I guess they kept the owners.

Misato’s serves very high quality sushi but you won’t find the exotic stuff here such as Uni (sea urchin), Bluefin Tuna, Belly Tuna or Blowfish. I don’t even know if I’ve seen Hamachi or Quail eggs on their menu.

Their signature roll here is the Calgary roll but I heard it’s over $22 now. I remembered it to be around $16 once upon a time. But as a signature roll, I guess they have the right to raise the price on us.

They are totally into presentation and not quantity. So if you’re looking for more quality and less quantity then Misato’s is your place. Pictured here is their lunch box. It’s very pretty but it’s more of an appetizer than a lunch meal. Luckily dinner was around the corner for me but if I had to go back to work, I would probably need something to tie me over. The tempura batter was nice and light. Salad with ginger dressing was nice. A few strands of edamame was a treat and a few slices of sashimi were excellent. A few more slices of teriyaki chicken would have nice or instead of bean sprouts, a bed of rice would had worked better. And the miso soup was not salty like a lot around town.
Misato Sushi & Grill on Urbanspoon

Rich Italian Food

Seafood PescatoreFriends of ours took us to Villa Firenze for dinner a few weeks back then they headed out to Maui the next day. Lucky dogs! But I’ll be heading to the Big Island very soon too. Parking at the villa is great. They have ample parking in the rear and there is parking after hours in the lot adjacent to the restaurant. Walking into Villa Firenze is like walking into a house. I was told by our friends that it is a typical house in Bridgeland. Converted to a restaurant, it is cozy yet roomy inside. I like how the foyer of the house is the reception and the living spaces converted to dining areas. Stairs leading downstairs from the foyer takes you to the washrooms.

They have coat check but it was cold out so we held on to our coats. Everyone was dressed business casual so I can only guess that a lot of business lunches and dinners are held here. The owner came and greeted us at our table which was situated near the front of the restaurant. Where I sat, I had a commanding look at their wine selection. Instead of a wine cellar, they have all their wine bottles in the restaurant. My guess is that there were ample red wine in the house because these bottles were not chilled.

Our host decided to order the signature appetizer for us to try. The Portabello mushroom, oven baked with lots of garlic, bits of bacon and parmesan cheese(?) was delicious. A meal in itself. Next came our entrees. I chose to go with a simple spaghetti with marinara and it was delicious. My wife chose the Seafood Pescatore pasta. It looked great but I’m sensitive to mussels. I prefer the green mussels from Australia rather than the sea mussels that grow under piers. These were definitely sea mussels as you can still taste the sea in them. The rest of the dishes looked scrumptious. The veal dishes were nicely presented but I’m used to paying a few euros for them in Italy, rather than $20+ here in Calgary.

Overall food quality was excellent. I’ll give them awesome ratings on the Portabello and the pasta sauce. I didn’t pay for dinner but from the way the owner treated us, it must have cost a mint. We’ll be back for good Italian cooking when we’re downtown and feeling a bit rich.

Cafe Momoko

Beef Yakisoba

Beef Yakisoba

With the leaves turning yellow, you know winter is around the corner for us. On my endless quest for good food in Calgary, we decided it was time to try Cafe Momoko, a neighbourhood eatery on Weston Drive, just across the street from West Springs. Walking in, we were delighted with its decor. It is cozy and comfortable with soft plushy seats, glass tables and wrought iron furniture.

We had a craving for Japanese food but the menu also had Korean dishes too. The lunchtime menu caught our eye because of the prices but it was well into dinner so these dishes were unavailable. Shucks!

Cafe Momoko on Urbanspoon

We ordered a number of rolls and the Beef Yakisoba. We found it a tad sweet for our liking. The rolls were nicely presented and the fish seem fresh which is a mandatory for us. Sushi and sashimi needs to be fresh and not fishy in any way. We noticed something different with the rolls here. They used lettuce and a green tobiko instead of the red or orange types that we are used to seeing. The green tobiko reminded me of the fresh wasabi that were served to us at Ken of Japan in Simi Valley.

The service is awesome. The owner/ waiter/ chef is genuinely friendly and seems to want to know their customers’ response to the menu, taste and presentation. After serving us, dried peas in a package from Taiwan, he mentioned that he tried buying it in bulk but decided against serving it because he didn’t want his customers to think that he was reusing the peas. We told him the dried peas were tasty and he should continue serving them this way.

For those of you who are interested in these packaged dry peas, they are available at the Canadian Superstore in World aisle.

Peruvian Ceviche is Delicious

Peruvian Ceviche

Peruvian Ceviche

There’s always a debate going on between my two friends, Daniel and Pablo when it comes to ceviche. Daniel is from Mexico and he claims Mexican ceviche is the best. Pablo is from Peru and he claims Peruvian ceviche is the best.

I’ve tried both and think it’s a toss up. Two things missing in Peruvian ceviche is tomatoes and avocado but I find it lighter and tastier. I like how the fish is cooked in lime juice and seasoned with sea salt. Red onion slices and corn husks are served on a Peruvian ceviche instead of a slice of avocado.

Inti Restaurant - Peruvian Cuisine on Urbanspoon

Where can you order this delicious appetizer? Try the Inti Restaurant in the NE behind the Husky station on the corner of 32nd Avenue and Barlow Trail. Head east on 32nd Avenue then turn right on 26th Street after passing Barlow Trail. The restaurant is to your left and there’s plenty of parking in the mall.

Aside from the delicious ceviche, you might find the menu is a little small for a Peruvian restaurant. There’s only a few entrees to choose from. We chose the Escabeche de Pollo and Lomo Saltado. Both entrees came with a scoop of white rice. My escabeche was delicious but was a little small for my appetite. (We ended up eating at Fat Kee next door to satisfy our hunger before heading home.) Inti has both drinks that are traditional Peruvian, the chicha morada and Inca. The chicha morada is made of purple corn and is homemade. Inca is a popular soft drink that tastes like cream soda but is golden in colour.

Joe’s Crab Shack in Old Sacramento

Bucket of Seafood at Joe's Crab Shack

Bucket of Seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack

After waiting for our friends from Reno to arrive at the car rental facility south of the airport in Sacramento, we took both cars and navigated down down to Old Sacramento for some cajun / creole seafood. Located right on the river was Joe’s Crab Shack. The menus weren’t thick but there were a lot of choices. When our drinks arrived, we had made up our mind.

My wife and decided to order a bucket each. Our friends from Reno ordered a larger bucket to share. My wife ordered Joe’s Classic Steampot and it came with tasty dungeness crab, snow crab, boiled shrimp and smoked sausage. My taste buds were up for some crawfish so I ordered the Orleans which came with a pound of crawfish, 12 shrimps and an Andouille sausage.

The waitress came by to put a bib on each of us. It’s hilarious wearing this bib but I can tell you, it helps when you’re trying to get the meat out of the claws. Too bad they don’t give you gloves because I had to visit the little boy’s room to wash my hands. Eating crawfish is not for the squeamish. You need to grab the tail with one hand and the body with the other hand then you twist in opposite directions. The shell falls off the tail portion and that’s the part you eat.
Joe's Crab Shack on Urbanspoon

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