Restaurant Reviews–Other Than Hawaii Restaurants

Here’s a thread for those of you who are not currently living in Hawaii. Talk about your experiences at the restaurants and foods that you have tried wherever you are.

31 Responses to “Restaurant Reviews–Other Than Hawaii Restaurants”

  1. Marc

    I thought I would have a bunch of cool things to say, but after thinking about this, I’ve come to the unoriginal but somewhat unsurprising realization that many of my memorable non-Hawaii restaurant experiences are either Reid’s or shared with Reid. I’ll let him talk about Schultzy’s Sausage in Seattle because I don’t share the same passion for ground pork patties and have never aspired to get my name on the wall that lists people who have eaten five of these monstrosities in one sitting. He also took me to this place called Dos Coyotes in Davis, CA, that had the best fish tacos in the world, bar none. There was something about the way they grilled the fish and there was somethng in the salsa. I’m just hoping it wasn’t some Northern CA marijuana or something. We would up eating there something like 5 consecutive meals and pretty much detoured off I-5 on a trip from LA to Seattle simply to go to Davis and eat more of these burritos.

    I’ll keep this post short, but I ahve to mention a non-Reid experience. The best city to eat Sushi in North america is Vancouver, BC Canada. Incredibly fresh and incredibly priced. Tuna and Salmon nigiri are routinely $1 to $1.50 per piece and remarkably fresh. Toro, Hotate, Uni, Hamachi, Unagi are routinely $1.75-$2.25 per piece. Rolls are usually $2-4 and one place called Nikko has the best spicy tuna I’ve ever had. In downtown Vancouver, there are 1-2 sushi restaurants per block (only a mild exaggeration). The best part? These are Canadian prices, so you still get a 25-40% discount when you convert to american dollars.

  2. Reid

    Dos Coyotes, rules! If we ever go to the Bay Area, we might have to make a special trip there. Here’s a menu of their burritos: Dos Coyotes’ Burritos. Notice they have a white sauce in their shrimp and mahi mahi burritos. The sauce is not really thick, and they put enough for flavor versus drowning it out. It’s the sauce, rice and grilled seafood that make the burrito so ono. They also have a paella burrito, which wasn’t there the last time I visisted, and that looks pretty good, too.

    As for Schultzy’s, even after eating Italian sausage sandwiches in NYC, I still think Schultzy’s is up there. I hope the owner is still sticking with the rectangualr shaped patties.

    Enjoyed reading about Vancouver sushi. Sounds good. Hey Marc, do you remember the time I gave you the unagi, avocado tempura? That was killer to, yeah?

    Btw, did you find any good deli’s in Seattle?

  3. Marc

    I don’t remember the unagi/tempura roll, where was it? It sounds good though. Nor have I found a memorable deli in Seattle, mostly for lack of looking. There are a few places that I’ve been wanting to try though and I’ll try to give you a report.

  4. Reid

    The sushi chef at Tatsumi’s made it (which some scraps of unagi) for the workers. I saved one for you, and gave it to you when you picked me up. Does that ring a bell?

  5. Marc

    Wow, I just realized that you were in Seattle at Tatsumi in 1991 – 13 years ago!. Getting old. It does ring a bell but I don’t remember the roll specifically and it sounds like “break jaw.”

  6. Reid

    Maybe this will help: it wasn’t a roll. The chef used the tips of the unagi that couldn’t be used for any dish, so they were really tiny. He wrapped a small piece of avocado with nori and fried it in tempura batter. Then he put some unagi sauce on it afterward. I had it in a little container when you came to pick me up in your truck. (I think it was rainy.) With good food, I can remember the details. đŸ™‚

    Please do not remind me of getting old. You know, I remember joking about getting old in my late 20’s, and it was funny. But it’s become less and less funny.

  7. Marc

    Well… if you can remember the details then you can’t be too old. If you ever start forgetting about food though, I’ll be very concerned.

  8. Reid


  9. kevin

    Hokay, so I went up to Boston to hang w/ Chris and Abra for Thanks’g, & I have to agree: Modern Pastry’s cannoli is, in fact, better than the cannoli I’ve had down here in Manhattan. If I could do buildings the way they do cannoli, I could be happy – a haiku of unadorned but differentiated simplicity. Brilliant, I tell you.

  10. Mitchell

    If I could do buildings the way they do cannoli, I could be happy – a haiku of unadorned but differentiated simplicity. Brilliant, I tell you.

    No, this is brilliant. If I could come up with a sentence like this, I’d stop there and not worry about fifty thousand words.

  11. Reid

    Alright, Kevin! Don’t you think the ricotta has a “sweet-milk” taste to it? (Chris was teasing me about that description.)

  12. kevin

    Mitchell: Aw, no, c’mon… I identify less with Ralph Waldo E. & more with Ralph Wiggum (“me fail English? That’s unpossible!”)

    Reid: Yeah, but like I told Abra, maybe that’s what makes it live up to the visual promise of what other cannoli (cannolis?) fails to deliver. Maybe that way it can stand alone w/o the chocolate coating that other bakeries use to make it taste like something interesting.

  13. Chris

    Yeah, I must say, those cannoli: they’re sweet, but milky. Like sweet milk, almost. Hey wait, could THAT be a haiku?

  14. Reid

    Larri and I went to Anaheim this past weekend, and we heard about a place, Cortina’s, with some great cannoli. This person from chowhound also raved about the pizza.

    Well, the cannoli was very good, and if I didn’t have the modern bakery cannoli, I’d say this was the best cannoli I had eaten. Btw, they pipe the ricotta in the shell on the spot, thus lending more support to Chris’ theory about good cannoli.

    The pizza was also very good, in the vein of Ray’s, which means nothing really fancy or unnusual, just solid pizza. The crust was a tad pillowy for my preference, but I still liked it (Larri, my neice and nephew, too).

    I really liked their meatball sandwiches, though. For under $5 you can get a small sandwich which is about a 6″ sub. Pretty filling. It was the first meatball sandwich that my neice and nephew had, and they really liked it.

    We went to other places, mostly cheap burger places. I’ll try to post about these later, but I’m sick right now, and thinking about this greasy food is making me nauseous. (See how sick I am?)

  15. Reid

    One of the recommendations I read about was the Knott’s Berry Farm restaurant. People wait in long lines for their fried chicken, and since I’m a big fan of fried chicken, I was looking foward to trying this. The verdict?

    I’d say it was one of the better fried chickens I’ve had–better than KFC or most other fast food fried chickens. The meat was really juicy, almost like rotisserie. The skin was pretty crisp, and not because of huge dollops on batter either.

    Speaking of rotisserie chicken, there was another place called Zankou, a fast food Middle-Eastern place, that some people at chowhound raved about. They served a rotisserie chicken as well as special seasoned chicken and tri-tip steak entres or sandwiches. The cool thing is that you can see the chickens slowing spinning in a roster. The specially seasoned chicken and trip tip were huge mounds of meat spinning on a vertical skewer. When an order is made for those meats, a cook comes with a knife to cut off meat, sort of like gyros. The food was pretty good and came at a good price.

  16. Reid

    Chris, have you heard of the a Thai place with “Tom” or “Yum” in the name? It’s on the Ave., and the person teaching swing dancing for me swears it’s the best Thai food she’s eaten. (I tried to get her to tell me where on the Ave., but she couldn’t remember.)

    Btw, Larri is in SF now with her parents and our niece. She went to a Peruvian place called Limon that sounded really good. She took some pictures, so hopefully I cant put them up here when she gets back.

  17. burgess

    The name of the place is Jaffa’s Bagels, though it’s not really a restaurant–Jaffa’s is a food court type place located in an office building in downtown Chicago. While they do have an assortment of bagels, the name of the place should be “The Best (*insert favorite explitive here*) Turkey Sandwich Ever.” This is no thin sliced, deli turkey breastlike sandwich–this sandwich has big , meaty pieces of turkey.When taking your order, if you order a turkey sandwich, they ask, “White meat or dark meat?” After requesting white, dark, or both, they carve the meat right off of the bird, and soak it in a broth. You can choose from an assortment of breads (including pita), and an even wider assortment of condiments and toppings–mayo, mustard, different cheeses, cranberry sauce, pesto, salsa, and hummus, to name a few.

    I haven’t been too daring in my selections–so far it’s just a spicy mayo, dijon mustard, cheese and lettuce on a Kaiser roll, and it really is the best turkey sandwich I’ve ever had.

  18. Reid

    That sounds good. Here are some other questions: What’s the best pizza place you’ve eaten in Chicago?

    How do you like those Chicago style hot dogs (with tomatos and virtually anything else)?

    I heard there’s some good Greek places there. What’s the best one you’ve been, too?

    I love reading about restaurants from locals in other places. Thanks!

  19. burgess

    I’ve only had Chicago style pizza from two places, and it’s a toss up between which one I like best. It’s usually the one I’ve had last, but I think Giordano’s has a slight edge over Eduardo’s. I still enjoy CPK and other gourmet pizzas, but I like Chicago stuffed pizza best. It’s really more like pie than pizza–in fact, when I pick up my pizza, the people getting my order refer to my pizzas as pies, as in, “That’s two pies, one spinach and one sausage and pepperoni.” It’s a different arrangement of ingredients. Instead of the usual crust, sauce, cheese, topping(s), layers of cheese and toppings are on the crust, and covered with a layer of sauce. It’s really quite wonderful with an incredibly flaky crust.

    The Chicago style hotdog sounds like a good idea, but I don’t care for it much, even with the all beef dog. It’s just a little too busy with mustard, onions, relish, dill pickle spear, tomato wedges and sport peppers, and a dash of celery salt.. I prefer my dogs with dijon mustard and sauerkraut.

    I haven’t been to any Greek restaurants, but there is a Mediterranean restaurant that I like. It’s called Cedars, and everything I’ve had there is good

  20. Reid

    Thanks for the update. Btw, coincidently, the Food Network’s Rachel Ray’s “Tasty Travel’s” show featured Chicago the other night. So I want to know what you two Chicagoans think of her picks. Here’s the ones I can remember:

    Piece–a thin crust pizza place
    Anne Sather(?)
    Smoke Daddy (BBQ)
    Hot Chocolate–a chocolate place. This place looked good.

    You can read the other places Rachel chose here.

  21. burgess

    I went to a Mexican restaurant in Atlanta called Los Bravos. I really wanted to like this place, because a couple of friends really loved it, and I would have liked to have shared in that experience. Los Bravos has a few locations inside and around Atlanta. Its cuisine is listed as Tex-Mex, though I thought it was more in between Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican cuisine.

    I had a combo plate consisting of an enchilada, burrito, and a tamale, with a chile poblano on the side. The best thing I can say about my meal is that the enchilada and burrito were extremely average. As average as the enchilada and burrito were, the tamale and the chile poblano were disappointing, which was sad, because I love tamales and chile poblanos–whenever I go to a Mexican restaurant that I’ve never been to, I always order them, and have rarely been disappointed. Los Bravos has, perhaps, the worst tamales I’ve ever had.

    In all fairness, however, Los Bravos has a much ore extensive menu than the combination plates. SaraAnne had the carne asada, and it was pretty good.

    The best thing about Los Bravos is the beer. It’s not that they have a huge selection of beer–they don’t, but the price was good. I got a 32 ounce Dos Equis for five dollars–that’s a Big Gulp of beer. I know most people can do the math, but I love saying it–if I spent twenty dollars on beer, which is not unheard of, I can get a gallon of beer.

  22. burgess

    Dixie Kitchen and Bait Shop is a good neighborhood restaurant in a neighborhood with a lot of good restaurants. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat at the Dixie Kitchen, but if I’m in the neighborhood, I’d consider it.

    The crawfish and corn fritters are very good. It’s a corn fritter with pieces of fresh corn, chopped jalapenos and chunks of crawfish, served with a jalapeno jelly. The heat and sweetness of the jelly is a great combination when pared with the initial crunch of the fritter, followed by the almost spongy center.

    I also like the Jambalaya, with a rich brown gravy, shredded chicken with intermittent chunks, vegetables with enough crunch, and andouille sausage. There is a smokiness that permeates through the entire dish. The heat of the Jambalaya kind of sneaks up on you. It’s not overpowering. After the first spoonful, it is barely noticeable, but a few more bites in it becomes more noticeable. It’s not just heat though, or hot for the sake of hot. There is good flavor in this dish. The only thing lacking is the amount of Andouille.

  23. Mitchell

    How much did you spend, and how was the bait?

  24. burgess

    The prices at Dixie Kitchen aren’t such that I could afford to eat there everyday, not that I can or should eat out everyday anywhere, but it’s not bad. Entrees run between $10 – $15, and appetizers in the $6 – $8 range. There was no bait that I could see, though.

    I went to the Weber Grill for my birthday, a few weeks ago, and had a good dining experience–of course anytime we can eat out without the kids, tends to be a good dining experience. It’s kind of pricey, but the food was great.

    Everything at the Weber Grill is cooked on these huge Weber grills, well, perhaps not the salads. I had the ribs, which were good, and perhaps among the best ribs I’ve had, but I’ve had comparable ribs at other places. The meat wasn’t exactly fall off the bone, but they had enough chew to them to let you know that you were eating ribs. I like ribs, but I don’t like the mess, so these ribs were perfect for me. Just enough sauce on the ribs, and cooked so that the sauce sticks mostly to the ribs, and not on my fingers, with sauce on the side. SaraAnne had the prime rib, which was probably the best I ever tasted. We also had the romaine wedge salad. It’s a wedge of romaine lettuce, topped with bits of bacon and shredded Parmesan cheese.

  25. kevin

    Last year my aunt took us there while passing through, of which I enjoyed the experience. I had the ribs also, which I thought were pretty good also, but I’m more of a “fall-off-the-bone” type of meat person, since I’m not very good at cleaning off bones. My bro had the Beer Can Chicken, but later bemoaned missing out on the prime rib.

    I loved those humongous Webers that make you feel like a lilliputian. The atmosphere, though, left me desiring for it to be a little bit less “clean” & tidy, being the hallmark of outdoor BBQ. I’m glad she took us there, though, instead of the House of Blues.

  26. burgess

    You go to Weber Grill Restaurant, and your brother gets the chicken. What is this world coming to? Yes, I know Weber grills can be used to cook chicken, and fish, and hotdogs, but they’re made for meat–big slabs of meat. I kid–I’m sure the chicken was lovely.

    I think you’re right about the atmosphere. There’s almost a disconnect between the out doorsy feel of live fire in kettle shaped grills and the cleanliness of the restaurant and its patrons. This is no backyard cookout.

    It kind of reminds me of another restaurant I went to once. Sal y Carvaois a Brazilian style steakhouse. The waiters are dressed as gauchos, and they carry these spits of meat. There’s a small disc by each setting–one side red, the other side green. If you want something to eat you turn the disc to the green side, or is it the red side so they stop at your place–I think it’s the green side.

    The food is excellent. The restaurant boast of having 16 different kinds of meat, though I don’t think they have them all on the same night–still, there is a wide selection of meats, affording the diner the opportunity to try different things. The meal comes with a “salad island”–to call it a salad bar would be a crime–it is a salad extravaganza–there are a variety of greens, peppers, artichoke hearts and hearts of palm, fresh asparagus, portabella mushrooms, a couple of soups, and an assortment of cold salads and appetizers. This is not the usual steakhouse salad bar.

    While all-you-can-eat might suggest a somewhat casual atmosphere, Sal y Carvao is a little more upscale, as is reflected by their prices. There is a fixed price. I believe it was close to fifty dollars per person, and I think it’s half that for just the salad bar. Which is not much more than we would pay if we went to any other nice restaurant.

    The service was great. We never felt rushed, and overall, it was a wonderful dining experience.

  27. Mitchell

    Looks like you folks have good taste. Town and 12th Avenue Grill won Ilima Awards from the critics at the Advertiser: both for Best Fine Dining restaurants. Nico’s at Pier 38 won for Best Casual Restaurant (critics’ choice), so I got good taste too!

  28. Mitchell

    oops. wrong thread. i’ll move it later.

  29. Reid

    I was checking out the yelp comments on Dos Coyotes, the place that served the best burritos I’ve eaten. It was brought back a lot of good memories. It also made me hungry.

  30. Reid



    You should comment on some of the places you’ve been to.

  31. Reid

    Larri, Penny and I recently got back from a trip to Seattle. (Nice seeing Marc and April get married.) I’m not going to write about all the restaurants we went to, but I’ll try to give some highlights.

    Off the top of my head, I’d say the best dining experience for me was the meal we had at Spinasse. This is a small Italian restaurant in a nice but casual setting (lots of wood; definitely weird paintings that seemed out of place). We ate family style and had several courses.

    I think the dishes were pretty simple–not a lot of unusual combination of ingredients or a lot of ingredients–either that, or the flavors were blended really well. But the flavor for many of the dishes were outstanding. Surprisingnly, I think the best thing was the beets. I can’t remember the seasoning, but I remember it came with tiny breadcrumbs. The zucchini and eggplant was almost as good. I also loved the tagiatelle(sp?) pasta with chanterelles. I generally like my pasta chewy, but the pasta (especially the paparadelle-like (flat and wide) ones) were too thin to be chewy. But what you got instead was this gentle, brushing sensation on the tongue that was almost sensual.

    Seriously, I could’ve eaten these three things by themselves, and it might have been one of the best meals I’ve had. There were other items that were pretty disappointing, but these were so outstanding, this tops me list of my favorite meal.

    Other favorites:
    (Neo) Cuban sandwiches at Paseo. I especially like roasted pork sandwich with ham and cheese. I didn’t order this one, as it didn’t sound appealing. But it was one of the best sandwiches. I also loved their #2, which was a kind of pounded pork with an incredible sauce. All the sandwiches came with carmelized peppers and onions and a aioli sauce. Terrific sandwich. (Btw, I tried this last year and I wasn’t as enthused. I didn’t eat these specific sandwiches, however.)

    I also loved the kringles from Larsen’s bakery. We ate at two fancy French style bakeries that were really good, but this place–not so artisnal and more like a Liliha Bakery–stood out. The kringles are these giant pretzel shaped pastry. They’re real flaky and filled with an almond paste. I must say that I do think they’re a bit too sweet. Still, they’re pretty addicting.

    I must say that my impression is that the restaurant scene has really grown in the past ten years. They are a lot of places to get good food, and neighborhood restaurants with the kind of vibe I like (e.g. Du Vin, Indigo, Cafe Miro, etc.) are a dime-a-dozen here. (Ditto coffee places.)

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