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Posts tagged ‘salad’

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: Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ

Location: 100-638 6 Ave SW
Website: http://www.gyu-kaku.com/

I confess, I am not familiar with Japanese BBQ. When greeted with the phrase “Japanese cuisine,” the first item that jumps into my mind is sushi, not BBQ. For me, BBQ conjures up images of either Korean BBQ or a Southern style one (or the kind using the BBQ lol). I mean, when my sister and I were in Vancouver with friends we went to a Korean and Japanese BBQ and had some similar dishes. To be honest, after today’s experience I’m still confused as to the difference between the two. Sure the seasonings are different, but they largely use the same cuts of meat and they are prepared in much the same way.

To go out with my sister after classes again was a refreshing change from the mundane routine of school and work. It was a bit of a walk from the station and we were told that there would be a half hour wait since we didn’t have a reservation. I was starved, but we had come all this way and Valerie had spoken so highly of it, I decided to just push through the hunger pangs to try this place. As it turns out, the wait was only 4 minutes.

We were promptly seated, presented menus, and asked for our drink order. After a quick perusal of the menu on the advice of Val and the waitress we decided on two appetizers and two lunch specials. The appetizers we ordered were the fried calamari and takoyaki. We both decided on the three BBQ item lunch special and ordered Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Beef Tongue, Kalbi Short Rib Sweet Soy, Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, Filet Mignon, and Spicy Pork. The lunch special came with rice, soup and salad. Val opted to have the seaweed soup and I, the Miso. The seaweed soup was a nice surprise since I had expected the flowy, hair like seaweed that I’m used to for Chinese seaweed soup. They used the same seaweed as in the Miso and the broth was slightly saltier. The salad was dressed with a tangier, more acidic salad dressing that I’m used to having at Japanese restaurants. It reminded me more of the salads that we got at Korean restaurants. I would’ve have liked to have more salad and I probably should’ve saved some to eat with the meal since the acid would’ve helped cut through the richness of the meat.

The appetizers arrived shortly after the soup and salad. The first piece of takoyaki I dug into had a good octopus to batter ratio. Unfortunately, that cannot be said of the subsequent pieces I had. Flavour wise, the interior was standard, but I felt as though there could have been a little more sauce to give the outside a little more of that characteristic takoyaki flavour. Of course there is a difference between a slight drizzle (or more than that) and dousing it in sauce; a good balance must be found. The calamari I found to be ordinary. Nothing sets it apart from other calamari I’ve had. It certain isn’t one of the best, but it isn’t the worst either.

Besides some of the meat having already been seasoned, each table is set with three sauces: ponzu, spicy, and sweet soy. Although the ponzu sauce isn’t bad, it just isn’t my favourite of the three due to its unique tanginess. My favourite of the three is the spicy one, which wasn’t even spicy, but it was very flavourful. I found that I often didn’t need to dip my meat into the sauces, but when I did it made the meat saltier and had me reaching for my white rice.

Overall, I had no complaints. The food was really good and I would definitely go back. One thing I will say is that while it doesn’t look like all that much, the meal was very filling.

Based on my experience today, I’d give this place a 4.0/5. Our server as well as another one who appeared to be in training were great in helping us out today.

sign

light

Light hanging at entrance

appies

Appetizers: Fried Calamari (back), Takoyaki (front)

miso-and-salad

Miso Soup and Salad

seaweed-soup-and-salad

Seaweed Soup and Salad

better-meat

Meat (in no particular order): Harami Miso Skirt Steak, Beef Tongue, Kalbi Short Rib Sweet Soy, Bistro Hanger Steak Miso, Filet Mignon, and Spicy Pork

 

cooking-meat

Cooking the Meat

Restaurant Review: Wendel’s Bookstore & Cafe

Location: 103-9233 Glover Rd (Fort Langley)
Website: http://wendelsonline.com/wordpress/

After an exhausting pre-dinner walk and exclusion from a pub (as one of our party didn’t have any IDs that are considered sufficient as BC laws differ greatly from Alberta ones) we headed to this cafe. Sure I love books, coffee, and pastries, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about going to a cafe for dinner. I was about to be proven wrong on so many levels.

Two of my party ordered daily special items. One had the Chicken Avocado Quesadilla and the other had the Driediger Farms Berry and Goat Cheese salad. The other orders were a West Coast Prawn Fettuccine, a Jack & Avocado Quesadilla, and a Pad Thai. Drinks ordered were an Iced Caramel Macchiato, a Mocha Frappe, a Yogurt Yerry smoothie, and a Wild Berry Frappe. The Fettuccine was heavenly! It was prawns in a white wine, garlic and cream sauce over fettuccine noodles topped with parmesan and served with two pieces of garlic focaccia. The focaccia was a lot lighter than I was used to and the sauce was so creamy! But as I neared the end, it got tougher and tougher to finish because of its richness. It probably would have been nice to share it with someone who got a salad. The feature salad was quite large and the citrus vinaigrette was exactly what my friend needed after that heavy lamb lunch. The fresh berries, creamy goat cheese, and candied pecans added a layer of depth to the salad, making it more filling than you’d expect from a salad. The quesadillas didn’t really interest me and I didn’t try them, but the two who ordered them said that it was pretty good (and that’s all I could get out of them). The quesadillas came with a salad and choice of dressing. The Pad Thai was also really refreshing. I’ve never had a Pad Thai and I suppose a cafe isn’t the place to try it, but this place actually did a really good job on it. The noodles they used were about the size of my fettuccine, but were made of potato starch instead giving it a nice chewy consistency.  There was a lot of variety of protein in this dish: egg, prawns, and chicken, which was really nice. The lime definitely helped to whet my appetite and I assume that it would make it go down a lot easier than the creamy fettuccine I had. However, the only complaint my sister had about this dish was after a while it got really sweet after a while.

The two desserts that were ordered were a berry cheesecake and a peanu st butter and chocolate bar. The cheesecake looked really good and it would be the kind I’d go for since for me, cheesecake is so rich it needs the tartness to counterbalance it. The crust/base of the peanut butter chocolate bar was described as being quite dry. I’d love to come back just to have a dessert and coffee while looking around at the books sometime in the winter.

As this place is technically a cafe, it functions much like Vendome. You order at the counter, take a number and they will bring it to your table. The staff are friendly yet remained professional. I would certainly love to come back here after a long day out on the river or just to relax and have a coffee with friends. I would definitely recommend coming here if you have the pleasure of visiting Fort Langley. I’e always wanted to live in a small town and this place has become yet another reason why I should. This has been one of the best places we’ve been to so far on this trip and I would give it a 4.5/5, giving Vendome a good run for its money (might even be better than Vendome since it has a much wider selection of food).

Avocado and Jack Quesadilla

 

Driediger Farms Berry and Goat Cheese Salad

 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Bar

 

Berry Cheesecake

 

Chicken Avocado Quesadilla

 

West Coast Prawn Fettuccine

 

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

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