Posts tagged restaurant review
Posts tagged restaurant review
Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori (Japanese, Yakitori) Torrance $$ ***9 out of 10***
My favorite place for yakitori! Shinsengumi is a small place that gets jam packed every night with happy patrons stuffing their faces with small pieces of skewered chicken parts.
When you walk into the restaurant expect the entire staff to greet you loudly in Japanese. Have a drink and the entire staff will cheers you. Of course the same exclamations are extended when you leave. It’s a fun lively atmosphere that seems to get louder and livelier every year.
My absolute favorite thing to get is their chicken liver followed closely by their chicken skin and chicken cartilage. Other must-tries are the chicken hearts, chicken gizzards, bacon-wrapped cherry tomatoes and chicken meatballs.
You have the regular accompaniments to your yakitori like “Shichimi” and “sansho pepper” but their “yuzu Kosho” accompanied by a never-ending supply of roughly chopped fresh cabbage salad is what makes the Shinsengumi yakitori experience…well…better.
What I also love about Shinsengumi is the fact that not only are their skewers spectacular; their cooked food is amazing as well. From my experience, you can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu but personally, I love their crab cream croquette and the grilled Atka mackerel. To end, I like to finish off the meal with some nice, warm, soupy Chazuke.
Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori
18517 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
Neighborhoods: Torrance, Harbor Gateway
Himalayan Cafe , Pasadena (Himalayan/Nepalese/Indian) $$ ***7 out of 10***
Himalayan café is definitely not a mind-blowing dining experience nor is it likely to give you an unforgettable perception-changing meal. However, it is quite capable of giving you a satisfied tummy with its decent portions, tasty food, and great service in a clean and bright environment for a fair price. Located in Old Town Pasadena, it’ an easy stop-in if you’re looking for something Himalayan/Nepalese/Indian with a lot of spices and flavor. Their chicken mo-mo seems to be their most popular dish. It’s a classic Asian-style chicken dumpling that comes with a tasty dipping sauce.
Their lunch buffet is a fair deal too. If you’re not familiar with the food, it’s a good way to try a few different things without committing to an entire dish. It’s basically standard Indian fare consisting of Naan, a couple of curries, some salad, Tandoori Chicken and a little something sweet for dessert all for $9.99/person everyday from 11:30AM to 2:30PM.
36 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Neighborhood: Old-Town Pasadena
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar @ LA Live (Steakhouse) $$$ ***4 out of 10***
Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar
800 W Olympic Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Beckham Grill (English Pub, Steak, Seafood) *6.5 out of 10* $$
Old School English Dining in Pasadena with big portions and reasonable prices. Located just north of Oldtown, Beckham Grill is comfy and away from all the commotion. The décor is very charming. In the front of the restaurant sits an antique red phone booth and a restored old car nestled within the flowerbeds. Inside, you’re encompassed by heavy dark wood and dim mood lighting. And I can’t forget to mention the personalized metal charger plates with the Beckham logo engraved upon them!
My friend and I shared everything. We had the very mediocre Shrimp Cocktail to start, and then we had the Crab Cobb Salad which was a total disappointment. The crab was not fresh and the salad was so over-dressed that it was soggy. Thank goodness the cheese-bread was good.
Our main course was the Crown Cut Prime Rib that came with creamed spinach, creamed corn, and Yorkshire pudding. The prime rib was a bit dry, the creamed corn was a little too runny and sweet and the Yorkshire pudding is not something I am a fan of. But the creamed spinach was really tasty, the au jus was spot on, and the fresh and creamed horseradish was excellent! All in all, I must say that I did enjoy my dining experience comforted by the ambiance of good ‘ole English charm while sitting in a comfy armchair.
And of course we finished off the meal with some warm raisin bread pudding with a they-don’t-mess-around whiskey sauce.
Beckham Grill Restaurant
77 W Walnut St
Pasadena, CA 91103
Restaurant Review : Wonderland Custom Cakes (Bakery, Dessert, Cupcakes) $$ *9 out of 10*
Decadent, moist, delicious, jam packed with taste… Winner of Cupcake Wars on the Food Network, Wonderland Cupcakes deserves a visit.
They’re little handfuls of sweet goodness for $3.25 each. Try the salted caramel, you won’t be disappointed.
Wonderland Custom Cakes
107 S Fair Oaks Ave
Pasadena, CA 91105
Restaurant Review : 8th St Live Fish Cuisine (Korean Sashimi) $$ *7 out of 10*
When I want Korean sashimi, I come here. It’s small, homey, and the owner is super friendly and often greets his customers at the tables. It’s reasonably priced, the fish is fresh, and the cooked food is quite decent.
Like all Korean sashimi places, ordering is easy. Small is $69.99, Medium is $89.99, Large is $119.99, and Special Large is $149.99. You pick according to the size of your party and on your hunger level and they will take care of the rest. If you’re not sure, ask your server. They will steer you the right way. For every combo, you get a choice of halibut sashimi (Koreans love halibut) or combo sashimi (I chose combo to break the monotony) along with a spicy fish stew. Then they will give you loads of side dishes which vary depending on the day…grilled mackerel, onion pancake, steamed egg, mussel soup, and some “banchan” to name a few. You will also get some extra sashimi that is only common in Korean places…sea squirt, baby octopus, and raw sea worms! Uni (sea urchin) and live abalone are always a welcome treat.
8th Street Live Fish Cuisine
3100 W 8th St #103
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Restaurant Review : Din Tai Fung (Chinese, Taiwanese) $$ *7.5 out of 10*
Who would have thought that Din Tai Fung would blow up in such a fabulous way and go majorly mainstream?! Since its original inception, the service has definitely gotten better with friendly, English speaking servers. It got so packed all the time that they had to open another location just next door!…and that location is always packed too!
Admittedly Din Tai Fung’s Xiao Long Bao (juicy pork dumplings) are pretty darn good and in my opinion, the best thing on the menu. But there are lesser known places that are cheaper, less crowded, and just as good. Having said that, I do like Din Tai Fung; it’s clean with good service and a suitable place to bring guests that are not too familiar with the food.
Additional pluses are their finely shredded ginger and their side dishes (cucumber and vinegared seaweed & beancurd). I don’t really recommend their soups which are always a bit bland and boring. For dessert, try their red bean dumplings. It’s a great closer that’s sure to please.
Din Tai Fung
1088 S Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007
Restaurant Review : Earl of Sandwich (sandwiches) $ *8 out of 10*
Earl of Sandwich…mmm…so good…
We live in a time when most everything is all about the hype and thus marked up several times in Vegas, especially on the strip. What a wonderful feeling it was to discover this casual sandwich spot located inside Planet Hollywood. It is quick, easy, delicious, satisfying and cheap!!! $5.99 for any sandwich, wrap or salad! Yes, true!
I love love their BLT. The Caribbean Jerk Chicken Sandwich and Tuna Melt are also very popular and delicious. It’s their warm, soft bread that really steps their sandwiches a notch above most others. Their salads are not so good so unless you’re seriously allergic to bread or something, try a sandwich.
Best of all, it’s open 24/7 as it should be in this town!
Earl of Sandwich
3667 Las Vegas Blvd S, Ste 760
Las Vegas, NV 89109
Neighborhoods: The Strip, Eastside
Restaurant Review : The Bazaar at SLS Hotel (small plates, Spanish) $$$$ *8 out of 10*
The Bazaar is creative, trendy, and expensive with small little portions. Gastro-concoctions of foam, cotton candy, and nitro help liven the presentation of the plates to make for an enjoyable dining experience.
For those who are conscious of their wallet, Dine LA would be the perfect time to partake in Bazaar’s creations. For only $44, you get an appetizer, 3 small dishes, and a dessert!
We had a party of 5 so we were able to sample a lot of items on the Dine LA menu. What we had…American Caviar Cone, Philly Cheesesteak, Jamon Serrano Fermin(dry cured ham), Market Ceviche, Sea Scallops in Romesco Sauce, Japanese Eel Tacos, Seared Strauss Veal Loin, Sauteed Shrimp, Beef Flank Steak, Croquetas De Pollo, Organized Caesar, Baby Beets Salad, Brussels Sprouts with Lemon Puree. For dessert we shared the Spanish Flan, Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta, and the Hot Chocolate Mousse.
The meal was quite satisfying but I wasn’t overly impressed. The item that really stands out and is a must-have has to be the “Philly Cheesesteak” with “air bread”, cheddar, and strips of rare Wagyu on top…o man, o man, it’s an awesome treat for your taste buds so don’t miss out on this one!
SLS Hotel at Beverly Hills
465 S La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
Neighborhood: Mid-City West
Restaurant Review : Tiara Cafe (American) $$ *7 out of 10*
It’s Dine LA so take advantage of it and eat out as often as you can!
Located within the hustle and bustle of the Fashion District in DTLA, Tiara Café opens its doors to a nice, open space with high exposed ceilings, pink girly walls counter-balanced by huge concrete columns.
For $16 here at Tiara Café, you get yourself a nice 3 course meal that’s quite enjoyable.
Here’s what I had…
-A fried chickpea appetizer on the house. It was GBD (Gold Brown & Delicious)! The small fried sticks whetted my appetite and got me all fired up for the next course.
-As my official DineLA appetizer I had the “Hamachi Fresh’wich”. This is like a spring roll with yellowtail, lettuce, and pickled daikon wrapped in rice paper served with a mayo-ey tarako dipping sauce. The Hamachi wasn’t the best of quality and the dipping sauce was a bit rich, but I definitely found myself enjoying this appetizer.
-Next I had the Grilled Prawn and Grilled Vegetable Salad. The salad was delish but the four little prawns were too salty and kind of shriveled up and dry from overcooking.
-My friend had the Smoked Rib Eye. I was kind of confused as to what they were trying to do here. I felt like it was too over-cooked to be like strips of steak but way too undercooked for it to be smoky and tender.
-For dessert we shared the Crumble Top Berry Cobbler and Meyer Lemon Crème Friache Sabayon. I really liked my cobbler but the Sabayon was too sour, too sweet, too sticky, and too whipped for me.
Parking is a royal pain, so if you’re local like me, walk. If not, you’ll probably still have to walk after finding parking.
127 E 9th St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Restaurant Review : Cleo (Mediterranean) $$$ *6.5 out of 10*
Located within the Redbury Hotel and SBE’s latest creation…I’m sorry Cleo, I wanted to like you…I really did expect more from you! Aside from the wobbly table and the broken chair that I had to switch out, I found the food boring, uninspired and frankly, not that good.
We really did give it a shot and ordered a fair share of food. What we ate and drank…
$14 Specialty Cocktails…served in martini glasses
-Clementina… Clementine vodka, crushed basil, Serrano chili, orange, juice, lemon juice.
-Vinebury…Stoli, Elderflower liqueur, basil, cucumber, Serrano, lemon juice.
-Honey Citrus Sidecar… Jack Daniels Whiskey, Cointreau, mint, yuzu juice, agave nectar.
These cocktails were way too sugary and…I can’t believe I’m saying this…needed more alcohol! After the first round, we decided to change our drinks to something more standard (scotch on the rocks).
Mezzes… served in teeny tiny little ramekins upon a wooden board.
-$6 Cauliflower with Cashews…Pretty good. Tasty.
-$6 Cucumbers with Yogurt…decent yogurt, exactly what you think it is but in a very small portion.
-$6 Shishito Peppers…very average…
-$9 Brussel Sprouts w/capers and almonds… These were served on a coffee filter for a bowl. The brussel sprout leaves were pulled apart from each other and fried leaving it tasting simply like something indeterminate, fried and salted.
-$12 Garlic Shrimp… The shrimps were fresh. Really nothing much more to say.
-$13 Grilled Octopus…More potatoes than octopus on this dish. The octopus was yummy but there was so darn little of it.
-$14 Mushroom Flatbread…This was better than average but far from the best I’ve had.
-$6 Lamb Kebab…Tasty. But a bit overcooked.
-$6 Sausage…good and flavorful.
$10 Seasonal Mushrooms…this dish came out so charred and bitter that we had to send it back. The second time around, it was pretty good.
The space was to our liking; classic, yet modern, and bubbling with the energy of the diners. Too bad the food couldn’t match up.
1717 Vine St
Los Angeles, CA 90028
Restaurant Review : Henry’s Hat (American, bar) $$ *6.5 out of 10*
Henry’s Hat is the sister restaurant of Luna Park. Like Luna Park, Henry’s Hat offers great deals if you follow them on Twitter or if you get yourself on their email list.
This is a casual place slightly off the beaten path where “The Valley” meets Hollywood; where you can get decent food, decent service, and decent drinks. Furnished with a big long bar to satisfy your thirst and a variety of board games to entertain your visit, Henry’s Hat aims to please.
3413 Cahuenga Blvd W
Los Angeles, CA 90068
Restaurant Review : New Kingswood Teppan Steak House (Chinese, Teppanyaki) $$ *4.5 out of 10*
Why is this place called “New Kingswood”??? There’s nothing new about it!
I used to love this place. I used to come here all the time for the hot pot. This is where I can have some nice herby broth and I can pick and choose the ingredients I want to cook in it. It’s an initial $3 per person then all the ingredients are a la carte. It’s actually quite affordable and priced lower than a lot of other hot pot places.
I find that the kids and husbands really like the fried rice and bread rolls (admittedly pretty good). Personally, I go for the greens, the tripe, the sour napa cabbage, and the U-shaped fish dumplings.
The service is quite mediocre but that doesn’t really bother me. What does bother me is a worker sleeping in the corner of the restaurant when you walk in! True story! The condiments (garlic, onion, cilantro) for your sauce never seems to be fresh anymore. They’ve been brown and wilted. It feels like this Kingswood got depressed and just gave up. I still have hope for this place if only it could find a way to spruce itself up by finding better management. As of now, I would definitely recommend the location in Rowland Heights over this one.
New Kingswood Teppan Steak House
250 W Valley Blvd #L
San Gabriel, CA 91776
Catalina Kitchen is located on the beautiful grounds of the Terranea Resort in Palos Verdes. You can dine outdoors lulled by the sounds of the ocean and caressed by the gentle touch of the air. This place is beautiful and peaceful.
My friend was throwing a lavish weekend wedding extravaganza on the grounds so we came to have their Friday Seafood Dinner Buffet for the wedding rehearsal dinner. This buffet is $55 per person and stacked full of crab legs, clams, mussels, oysters, soups, salads, breads, some sushi, a cheese tower with its accompaniments, and desserts.
It was a feast for my eyes. I wanted to try everything; and this I did…
What can I say? The food fell very short of my expectations. It was not well prepared, tasteless, and wasn’t at its freshest. What started off so well visually, ended with failure after failure in my mouth. Even the desserts came up short.
Our limited consolations came from the cheese selection, the fresh fruit, and champagne along with the friendly attentive service.
Although a wonderful time seemed to be had by all, it certainly was had by me; I am disappointed in the quality of the food and would expect much more from an establishment such as this.
100 Terranea Resort
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA 90275