Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Did I mention I like Indian?

Restaurant:  Bombay Grill

Location: 216 N. Hurstbourne Pky.  Louisville, KY

What I had:  Pretty much everything on the lunch buffet. Mutter Paneer, Chicken Tikka Masala, Chicken Curry, Goat Curry,  a couple of Rice based dishes (one was a Biryani, but I don't remember what the other one was) a couple of potato based Aloos, and Naan. Oh, and one vegetarian dish that didn't have a label but was very spicy.

What I liked:  Mutter Paneer.  I thought Palak Paneer (spinach and cheese) was the be-all-end-all of paneer based dishes.  I was wrong.  This quite possibly is my new favorite dish that includes cheese cubes floating in a sauce made of vegetables.  The curries and tikka masalas were all more than adequate in flavor and spice level, and I wish I knew the name of the fiery unlabeled vegetarian dish.. I had thirds of it.

What I didn't like: Again, not much to dislike, it's a buffet. You try some of everything, and get more of what you enjoyed while avoiding the stuff you didn't.  I could have used some sort of menu or guide to know what I was eating sometimes, but I could use something like that at just about any restaurant.

What the kids liked:  My son loved the Chicken Tikka Masala, but we had to call it butter chicken for him to eat it, and he devoured the naan like someone was going to take it from him.  My daughter liked pretty much everything, but turned her nose up at the spicy vegetarian dish.

Budget:  This place will not be on the regular eateries list as the kids discount is only extended to those 5 and under.  While the food and service were excellent, my (almost 9 year old very picky) son rarely ever eats enough to justify the full price of the buffet. I don't think it would be too bad for a lunch date for two though.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Asian for New Year's Day dinner!

Warning: Not for the unadventurous.

Restaurant: Asuka/NoodleTown

Location:  318 S. College Mall Rd. Bloomington, IN.  Next door to Panera Bread.

What I had: Ginger Chicken, Egg Roll, Gyoza, Fish Ball Soup, the Vegas roll (sushi) and the Ebiten Maki (also sushi)

What I liked: Considering this is the 3rd or 4th time we've been here, I pretty much liked everything.

First of all, the egg rolls here are probably within the top 3 egg rolls I've ever eaten. Never overcooked, a near perfect filling to wrapper ratio, and excellent overall taste will have ma coming back for years to come.

The fish ball soup..the broth is light and flavorful. The fish balls themselves are okay.

For the price the sushi rolls are decent.  Nothing to rave over, but definitely hit the spot.

The ginger chicken:  This is why I have a warning about not being for the unadventurous.

Their signage says they are a Japanese Steakhouse/Chinese noodle soup place, but they are most definitely about the closest thing to a truly authentic Chinese restaurant I've ever been to.

Sure, there are the Americanized staples on the menu like General Tso's chicken, and Sweet and Sour Pork, but if you ask for it, you can get the the English version of the menu they give to the Asian folks that eat here.

This particular dish is not the typical breaded/deep fried chicken nugget tossed in some sweet thickened sauce.  This was bone-in dark meat chicken chopped into small pieces that you had to take your time gnawing the meat off of the bone fragments.  The ginger sauce had a mild sweetness and the undeniable heat that come only from fresh ginger.  As a matter of fact, our waiter, who is a native of Beijing, asked me twice if I was sure I wanted that dish as it was more of a traditional dish he'd have at home than usually seen in American Chinese restaurants. I am absolutely glad I said, "Of Course!"

What I didn't like:  Their decor is a little dated and it does look rather dingy with their color scheme.

Another thing I don't much care for is their overwhelming number of dishes available.  Not only do they do a full array of Chinese foods, they also do umpteen different kinds of noodles and soups as well as sushi and hibachi.  It is like they're trying too hard to provide a robust Asian food experience.

What the kids liked: My daughter loved everything we shared, and even left the bit of avocado in the roll she had (she hates avocados). My son especially loves their miso soup and crab stick roll.

Budget:  This place is very budget friendly if you pay attention to what you are ordering.  If you were going to do a more family style setup (order a couple main dishes to share with some rice) and stick to one or two appetizers, you'll spend about as much as you do at a "fast-casual" type place, but it can get pretty spendy too depending on the dish.

I can't wait to go back here with some friends/family so we can try their "Hot Pot"  (I know. I know. You paid HOW much to cook your OWN dinner?)

Sushi for Christmas dinner? Yes please!

Sorry I've been so long between posts.. Holidays and all.

Restaurant: Sapporo Sushi and Sake Bar

Location:  1706 Bardstown Rd. Louisville, KY

What I had:  several sushi rolls.. The Crunch N Munch,  one that was called the "Golden Cadillac" or something like that.. and one that was set on fire!  Squid and Vegetable Tempura, Gyozas, and Korean Bulgogi Tacos.

What I liked:  The Tempura: It was deep fried perfection  and the calamari not too chewy.

The gyozas: Not the best I'd ever had, but worthwhile. The dipping sauce was amazing!

The Korean Bulgogi Taco: If you don't try anything else on the menu you need to try these! Savory strips of flavorful marinated beef on a warm flour tortilla with some cool Asian vegetables/lettuce with a drizzle of spicy mayo. We had this as an appetizer. We ordered this again for dessert. I'm pretty sure they added more spice to the spicy mayo on the second batch.

The sushi rolls were all on par with other sushi places we've been to.  The flaming one was neat, but the dish broke and they had to get us another one.

What I didn't like:  Not much there to dislike, the wait staff was friendly, unobtrusive, and went out of their way in preventing us from contamination from the broken dish on the flaming sushi roll.

What the kids liked: They both loved the tempura. My daughter loved all the rolls we tried, and My son had two whole orders of their Crab Nigiri all to himself.

Budget:  This is a special occasion kind of place that has potential to become a regular feature in out meals out.  Most of the items on the menu were  reasonably priced with a few very pricey exceptions.  I didn't look at their Hibachi menu to see if it compared with others in the area.

Overall, the experience was worth the dollars spent even if we did go overboard on what we ordered (I had a pricey adult beverage which didn't help the budget either, but it was Christmas night).

Thursday, December 17, 2015


My brother in law took us here once..may he be forgiven.

Restaurant:  Pho Binh Minh

Location:  6709 Strawberry Ln, Louisville, KY 40214

What I had: Some kind of rice dish I never learned the name of, another rice dish that is basically a chicken fried rice, Bahn mi, and salty lemonade.

What I liked: Every last bit of food we shared..even the salty lemonade.

Why I liked it:  According to my brother in law, who has actually been to Vietnam, and enjoyed the food he had there, he said this place was the closest flavor wise to what he had over there.  I believe it. att the food was prepared by a husband and wife team. They spoke just a little bit more English, than I can speak Vietnamese, and their menu was very difficult to read. (You're probably wondering why this is in the "Why I liked it" category...hang in there, I'm getting to it!)

All I could make out were some of the ingredients in the different menu items, so this kid of forced us into an adventure in Vietnamese cuisine..I basically picked a number and prayed it would taste good (based on ingredients I recognized).  My wife ended up with some kind of noodle dish, I ended up with some kind of rice dish that was similar to an Indian biryani, but with definite southeast Asian flavor.

The Bahn Mi (a sandwich of meat and vegetables on crusty french bread) were outstanding.  I had one with beef and one with pork. Both were spicy, but not too spicy to eat, and that crisp french bread made the whole sandwich one of my all time favorites.

The salty lemonade is exactly what it sounds like.  Made from salt cured lemons, it is a most savory drink.  It was so horrible I couldn't stop drinking it. My wife liked it so much we even went as far as curing our own lemons to make this drink at home.

What I didn't like:  The place the restaurant is in.  There are only 3 tables in the place, and one is taken over by the husband's laptop where you as a customer are interrupting his MMORPG game.  Since his wife did all the cooking, everyone's dishes arrived at different times, so you had to watch others eat while you waited for your own meal. I will say that the food quality and flavors overcame the atmosphere and mediocre service.

I will say that the food quality and flavors overcame the atmosphere and mediocre service.

What the kids liked:  Danielle liked most of the things she tried. Aidan kind of liked the chicken fried rice..a little (we got him Mcdonalds later).

Budget:  Pretty inexpensive compared to the quality of the food.

Another pizza place review already??

Restaurant: Fetta Specialty Pizza and Spirits

Location: 118 St Ann St, Owensboro, KY 42303

What I had:  the Smothers Park Special, Mashed Potato Bacon and Scallion, Sausage and Vidalia Onion (mushrooms added), Garlic Knots, and a Brownie/Chess bar (for dessert).

What I liked:  The Smothers Park Special.  Quite possibly the best meat loaded slice I've ever had.  The Mashed Potato Bacon and Scallion pizza...I'll explain. The Sausage and Vidalia, The garlic knots, and the dessert.

Why I liked it:The fact you can buy gourmet specialty pizza by the slice. The friendly and helpful staff and the level of service they provided consistently over 3 different visits. They have Coke Zero on the fountain. Most of all, the pizza(s)!

The Smothers Park Special! If I like anything on a pizza, I like meat the most. This thing comes loaded with salami, pepperoni, sweet Italian sausage, and olives.  The thing is, I'm not a fan of olives on pizza.  I won't pick them off if they're on there, but they're not my favorite.  The olives they use (kalamata) just add to the overall meatiness that this pie offers.

Mashed Potatoes on a pizza?? Think that sounds weird?? I thought so too until I tried it. Tasty, tasty carbs.  Not my favorite, but a true winner.  If I hadn't tried the Smothers Park Special, it would have been my favorite.

The Sausage and Vidalia was delicious and the garlic knots were sublime.  The knots themselves had the texture of a soft pretzel like you'd get at a ballgame, but covered in garlic butter and parmesan.  With nacho cheese and marinara to dip them into, they made a great appetizer.

What I didn't like:  It is in Ownsboro.  Not that I don't like Owensboro, I do.  It is just not a direction my family goes often (although we did go 3 times in one month, and all 3 times we ate here).

What the kids liked: The garlic knots. I think they each got their own order of them the last time we were there.  Aidan particularly liked their cheese pizza.

Budget:  If we lived closer to Owensboro, we would go there quite often. The by the slice option is economical, and handy for a lunchtime meal. Dinner too for that matter.

I've been told of other places to try in Owensboro, but I'm going to have a hard time passing this place up if I'm in the area.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fast Casual Greek??

Restaurant: Little Greek

Location: Louisville (Shelbyville Rd. area)

What I had:  Gyro, Chicken Skewer, Cheesecake.

What I liked: The gyro. It was better than I expected with this being a "fast casual" eatery. The seasoning in the lamb-beef mixture ubiquitous in all gyros was spot on, the tzatziki cool and creamy. Not the best I've ever had, but much better than most.  The chicken skewer. Again, this was another example of near perfect seasoning, and the fact that it was char-grilled gave it a wonderful smoky flavor.  The cheesecake was serviceable. Again not the best I've ever had, but better than some.

Why I liked it:  It's kind of a Greek version of Qdoba/Chipotle where you walk up to the counter to order. If you want, you can watch them prepare your food.  Their service was extremely friendly, and they went out of their way to accommodate my son who after pointing this place out, suddenly become totally against eating here. The owners made him what they called an off menu "Aidan Special" which was noodles in a marinara with some cheese and some grilled chicken.

What I didn't like about it:  I'm not sure if there was anything I didn't like, except maybe being still hungry enough after eating the gyro to need to order a chicken skewer (which, like the cheesecake, I shared with the kiddos).

What the kids liked:  Danielle had a gyro like I did, seemed to like it.  Aidan's "Aidan Special" was a hit with all of us.

Budget:  This is a place that could fast become one of our regular stops.  We spent less here than we typically spend at Chipotle (initially, before the extra skewer and dessert). The flavors were fresh and good, and overall I feel there was good value for the money spent.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

If you find yourself in Brown County and are looking for pizza, might I suggest the following:

Restaurant:  Brozinni's Pizza

Location: Nashville, Indiana

What I had:  A slice of 34th street, Madison Ave, a bite or two of Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, Broadway, & Garden State Parkway. Oh, and some "Garlic Knuckles" too. Here's a link to their menu to fully understand what the names mean.  Also, Check out their Facebook page for ther occasional special offers.

What I liked:  The garlic knuckles, Madison Ave, Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and the Garden State Parkway.

Why I liked it:  The garlic knuckles. If I hadn't had anything else, the garlic knuckles alone are worth the visit to this place. Basically these things are breadsticks that have been tied in a knot, and served swimming in a rich garlicky buttery, parmesan cheesy artery clogging mass of tastiness.  During certain times of the day, they serve their pizza by the slice which comes in handy for a guy like me.  What I didn't know is that, to them, a slice consists of about 1/4 of a 16 inch pie.  I ordered for myself a slice of the 34th street, and a slice of the Madison Avenue. Both were excellent. I'm not usually a fan of ricotta cheese (34th St.) on a pizza, but it looked tasty.  I was won over by the subtle smokiness and sweet barbecue flavor of the Madison Avenue..I'd never thought of pineapple as a topping for a BBQ pizza (I usually save pineapple for Hawaiian style pizzas, personally).  My wife had ordered slices of the Broadway, and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (of course she shared a bite or two).  I almost wish I had ordered a slice of the Brooklyn one for myself as I am truly in food love with a chicken-bacon-ranch style pizza.  My friends had ordered the Garden State Parkway. They got it with  "grandma's pie" style crust. While not quite deep dish, this extra thick crust paired well with the Margherita style toppings.

What I didn't like:  The fact my stomach and dietary needs have limits that this place exceeds in abundance.

What my kids liked: My son had a slice of the cheese pizza. My daughter had the Meat Lover's Calzone.  Both of them scarfed down the garlic knuckles.

Budget: It's available by the slice during the time we went, but the whole pies were reasonable considering the quality.  If it weren't so far away, they would be, at minimum, a once a month dine out.