Wednesday, January 7, 2009

U-Yee: 1/2 Price Sushi

675 US Highway 1 S
Iselin, NJ 08830

For a Sunday night at 8 pm, this place was packed! It is hard to believe that this restaurant in a strip mall would have so many people standing outside in the cold waiting for a table. (It is NJ at the beginning of January. So, it is cold.) When we tasted our food, I could understand why. I met up with some friends, and we waited for an hour before taking seats at the sushi bar. Another personal observation, this restaurant has done well by word of mouth. In addition, their "1/2 price sushi all day Sunday" makes it an even better reason to go. When we finally sat down, slips of paper with sushi choices were placed in front of us. All we needed to do was mark our choices. It came down to an eel roll and a lobster roll. On top of the sushi, I ordered a Susayuki (beef noodle soup) off the regular menu. This time, my camera was low on battery. So, I only had one good shot of my noodle dish. In the end, it is just an excuse to go back and get more pictures for my readers. :) Overall, I give the restaurant an 85/100 because service was so slow.

Food 9.0/10 – Sushi was very fresh. The noodle bowl was huge and very tasty.
Service 8.0/10 – For a Sunday night, I didn't expect such a long wait. Then again, I didn't expect so many people. The waitress did come back to refresh my hot tea. If it weren't so busy, this place would have friendly service.
Atmosphere 8.0/10 – Great decor. The noise factor was very loud. This dampened our conversations.
Price 8.5/10 – 2 rolls and 1 noodle bowl including tax and tip, $25. (Probably would have spent $20 just on the rolls on a normal day.)
Satisfaction 9.0/10 - Sushi should be fresh, and with the place hopping, the food was always going....going...gone.

Closing Comments

Go earlier on Sunday for this great deal. Even if you have to wait a little bit, the sushi is worth it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pho 99 Part 2

After my first post for Pho 99, we had to go back and get pictures for everyone to savor. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

T-day @ Mohegan Sun: Bamboo Forest


Our family has never done the traditional turkey dinner because my mom doesn't like the taste of turkey. So, we have always spent Thanksgiving eating lobster/crabs/fish/chicken/duck...etc. Whatever it is, we enjoy it as a family. This year, we decided to travel north into Connecticut for a nontraditional day at the casinos. You would think this is an unusual excursion, but there were mobs of people (especially, Chinese folks) everywhere. We left early in the morning, and we arrived just in time for lunch. We headed to the first Chinese restaurant, Bamboo Forest.

Where should I start? The menu had limited selections for Thanksgiving. The decor of the restaurant had no Asian theme. It was just a continuous stream of the casino. So, I really didn't expect much for authentic Asian cuisine. However, the meal surprised me. We ordered roast duck noodle soup, lau mai gai, Shanghai seafood noodle, wonton noodle soup, and Korean BBQ ribs. All of it was hot and nicely prepared and very authentic. The wontons had a nice "bounce" to them. The noodles were al dente. Everyone enjoyed their choices.

Overall, I give the restaurant an 82/100.

Food 8.5/10 – Good Chinese food considering the place is 2 hours away from the city.
Service 9.0/10 – For a holiday, I was pleasantly surprised by the waitress. She was very cordial and patient with our orders.
Atmosphere 7.5/10 – We were seated at the bar because there was no room in the main restaurant. So, I had no real impression of the place.
Price 7.0/10 – My dad treated. Total cost $90 (incl. tip) for 5 people.
Satisfaction 9.0/10 - I enjoyed the meal, but we could have stopped at Chinatown for a similar meal and for less.

Closing Comments
Really, you go to Mohegan Sun to gamble. So, eating is not the first thing on your mind. However, if you want a good meal, then Bamboo Forest has some good Chinese food.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pho 99


Pho 99 - Highly Recommended

3151 State Highway Rt. 27, South Plainfield, NJ 8823 Phone: 732-821-1828

I have been to this tasty eatery before. So, this hole in the wall restaurant was easy to find. (Just as a point of reference for those familiar with the area, but you have never noticed the restaurant, it is next to the Big Lots! and Hong Kong Supermarket-before it closed down a few months ago.)

We ordered a large A1 (Cha Gio-Vietnamese Egg Rolls), and 2 large P2's (Dac Biet- Combination special bowl containing rice noodles, beef soup, and tender beef slices.). I apologize that I did not remember to take pictures until I finished my meal. But, I did remember to snag the business card and menu for your viewing pleasure.

Back to the meal, we chowed down the egg rolls. Warning: they are not like Chinese egg rolls or spring rolls. These guys are about the size of your pointer, and they contain shrimp, pork, and other ingredients. What gives them my two thumbs up are the facts that you lettuce wrap them and dip them in a fish sauce. An experience that cannot be matched at any other type of Asian restaurant. (I found another blog with pictures on how they are made, link: Before I could set my chopsticks down, the waiter dropped off our two P2's. I added the fresh soy bean sprouts, basil, limes, and jalapenos for the healthy and tasty factors of Vietnamese food. I can't tell you how much the steaming hot bowls of goodness made any cold day in NJ feel great. (It was 36 degrees Fahrenheit outside according the temperature in my car.)

Overall, I give the restaurant an 88/100.

Food 9.2/10 – Great Vietnamese food with nothing bad and many great things

Service 8.5/10 – The food came fast, and everybody had a smile. The waiter also had a great black t-shirt saying, "What the Pho?"

Atmosphere 7.5/10 – Nice updated silverware and plates. However, the cups and sauce bowls were still plastic. Very clean and nicer than the majority of places in Chinatown.

Price 9.0/10 – My friend paid for the meal. Total cost $25

Satisfaction 10/10 - It really was a cold day, and the meal warmed my body from the inside out.

Closing Comments

If you have never tried Vietnamese before, please start at this place.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Umami- The Fifth Flavor

I recently realized that there is very little information or reviews on Asian eateries. I love most Asian foods (including Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Indian, Thai, etc). However, most places that have good quality Asian food at reasonable prices are difficult to research on Google or Zagat. So, I am starting today to find these little gems in my neighborhood and share them with you. I still need time to outline restaurants to visit. So, I'll start with a foodie's word of the day: Umami.
Until recently, Western taste physiology experts traditionally talked about four basic flavors: sweet, salty, sour and bitter. But the Japanese include a fifth flavor: umami ("oo-ma-mee"), often translated as "delicious," "savory," or "brothy." Many fermented products have this quality, including naturally brewed Kikkoman Soy Sauce. A small amount of Kikkoman Soy Sauce will not add a soy sauce flavor but rather meld the flavors of a recipe and make the other ingredients simply taste better. Next time your meal loses its appeal, try using Kikkoman Soy Sauce for its flavor-enhancing, umami qualities:
  • Vegetable stews and soups are richer
  • More flavorful Vinaigrettes are balanced
  • Flavor is multi-dimensional Cream sauces are nuttier
  • Tomato sauces are less acidic
  • Sautéed mushrooms are more savory