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Archive for May, 2018

Restaurant Review: Japanese Village

Location:  317 10 Ave SW

From the first time Val went, she was raving about the steak sauce.  She even bought a bottle of it at Christmas for my ex, Braeden (who unfortunately let it go bad without even trying any…what a waste of money).  I knew that if she had liked the steak sauce that much, I had to try it.  After all, Val and I have similar tastes and if she really like this place, it must be good.

We made reservations here for 6:30, but since I got off work at 3:00 and Val ended up finishing up her meeting thing at 6:00, but the restaurant was a three minute walk for her, we both ended up there super early.  We waited for a while before they said that they could seat us.  Although neither of us checked our watches or phones for the time, I’m pretty sure they seated us earlier than 6:30.  We were seated at the remaining two seats next to a party of five.  It took some time, but our orders were taken and our chef appeared.  He clearly had a showman’s persona and that level of involvement with a character like that, that close and personal made me a little uncomfortable, but I’m not the kind of person to judge before trying something out.  The meals we ordered came with soup, salad, rice, green tea, and a dessert.  Being unsure that there’d be enough food (since I’ve never been) and never passing up the opportunity to eat squid, we ordered the ika karaage.  The dish was quite small, expensive, and honestly, not that good. I’ve definitely had better.  We were first served the soup, which was an egg drop soup.  It was nicely flavoured and the temperature was just right, but it wasn’t anything special.  It was followed by a salad that also wasn’t that special.  The only thing I remember is that it was high acidic, which made me pucker a couple times at how sour it was.  All the while, we watched and listened to our chef crack jokes and throw his cooking utensils around.  I became especially uncomfortable when I was looking down to finish my salad and the minute I looked up he shoved a gigantic block of softened butter in my face, saying something to the effect of have some vanilla ice cream.  My mouth fell open in shock and the only thing I could do was pretend to eat it.  It was too late.  There was no recovery from that.  It did make the people at the table laugh, so I guess not all was lost.  Slowly, we started getting served food.  Shrimp with yum yum sauce (not really sure what that is…) and a lot of veggies (that I didn’t end up finishing).  The highlight of the evening was, of course, the onion volcano (unfortunately I have to upgrade my WordPress account for me to post the video.  I tried to post it on Facebook, but Facebook says the file is too small).  Both Val and I ordered steaks, which are cut into cubes for us, but the seasoning wasn’t really all that special.  That’s where the steak sauce came in.  The chef had already put some into the dishes in front of us and on our rice if we wanted, so I had tasted it.  I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was exactly in the sauce that I didn’t like, but there was something in it I didn’t like.  Val said there was a lot of onion, which I’m going to take her word for because she’s really good at discerning components of sauces and other mixed foodstuffs.  After the meat, I was pretty much full (hence I didn’t finish my veggies), but there was still tea and dessert.  The green tea was tasteless; it was like drinking coloured hot water.  And the green tea ice cream isn’t creamy and matcha-y like I’m used to.  There were parts of the ice cream where you could literally crunch on ice crystals, which isn’t really a quality I look for in my ice cream.

Overall, I’d say I wouldn’t come back here again, but I’d say that it’s something that everyone should experience once and decide for themselves if this is something they would like.  I know that the birthday girl in the party of five next to us said this was her favourite restaurant and she has come back repeatedly, but I wouldn’t.  I just want to enjoy my meal in peace without having someone heckling me every few seconds and cracking jokes that I’m forced to laugh along with.  But the experience wasn’t all bad.  It was nice how considerate they were of the dietary concerns of the person sitting next to me.  She had celiacs and they were constantly checking in with her to make sure everything was okay and if she wanted them to prepare something separate for her in the kitchen so that it was guaranteed to not contain gluten.

Unfortunately, I would have to rate this experience a 1/5.  Not because the food was particularly bad or the service was lacking, but because I don’t feel like this dining experience was one that I enjoyed or was comfortable with.

 

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Restaurant Review: Villa Firenze

Location: 610 1 Ave NE
Website: villafirenze.ca

Although this is not my first time at this restaurant, it’s my first time coming here that isn’t a work function.  I do apologize for not uploading this in a timely manner, but with the weekend I’ve had it’s been hard.  I’ve been trying to battle this cold/flu, finished off a rotation in litigation, started a rotation in corporate, and went to a wedding.

Every experience I’ve had here has been a pleasant one, this was no exception.  After work, a friend, Carmen, and I set off to the restaurant.  It was a short 10 minute walk from her law firm.

We were promptly seated and presented with menus.  We decided on two appetizers: their famous Portobello Mushroom and a Caesar salad.  I decided to try the Gnocchi Pesto alla Panna and Carmen had the Linguine con Vongole.  The Portobello Mushroom was absolutely delicious.  With it’s mild grilled flavour and a texture that was slightly reminiscent of steak, smothered in a cream sauce.  There wasn’t a speck of mushroom or sauce on the plate when we were done with it.  The Caesar was more classic.  It was a little more aggressively dressed than I would have liked, but the amount of garlic was just perfect.  Sure some may say it was too garlicky, but as you guys know, there’s no such thing with me.  By this time I was actually almost full.  I probably could have just done with a calamari and called it a night, but no, our entrees came.  Gnocchi, being potato and pasta, is a lot of carbs and therefore, is very filling.  I barely got in more than five bites before I had to call it quits.  It was good, but it wasn’t exactly what I had expected.  It was clear that the pesto was made in house, which I appreciated, but I wanted a little more olive oil and a lot more garlic.  While I don’t know exactly what Carmen’s linguini was like, clams in white wine is a classic combination and based on the fact that she cleared her plate, I knew she had really enjoyed it.

Based on this experience and past experiences I would definitely come back.  Although next time I do hope that I won’t be sick and that I’ll be able to better appreciate the intricacies of the flavour profiles that each dish has.  Next time I would want to try the calamari and perhaps even a dessert…say a tiramisu?

I would rate this experience a 4.5/5.

Appies

Appetizers: Portobello Mushroom with a Cream Sauce, Caesar Salad, and complementary bread with olive oil and vinegar

Gnocchi

Gnocchi Pesto alla Panna

Linguini

Linguini con Vongole

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