042017Jan

Kwan Kee Claypot

Walking along the streets of Sai Ting Pun, your eyes will be drawn to all the new buildings popping up. Some occupied by fancy restaurants others by Western hotel chains. If you happen to come by the glitzy Best Western, you might just notice people eating on the side street between the hotel and the neon lit McDonald’s. When you see that, you are in the presence of Kwan Kee Claypot Rice. An institution that’s been around for ages serving the classic claypot rice bowls.

What makes this place different from the ones over on Kowloon side of Hong Kong is the atmosphere. The people working here have a sense of humor. It’s not all about getting people in and out the fastest by streamlining the food prep. No, this place was sit down, joke with the host, order and wait for your food as it’s being prepared to order.

There was a wait for our claypots, but I didn’t mind at all after tasting the food. It was good! You can read about it more below.

Service wise, it’s typical local Hong Kong. That was, you’ll need to flag people down if you need anything. And don’t worry, they can speak English and have an English menu. They do get a fair number of tourists, but we did notice a good amount of locals. They’re the ones who make up most of the wait. Surprisingly not the tourists. I think it’s because Sai Ying Pun isn’t a tourist hot spot. Mainly a place to stay for most visitors, while Mong Kok attracts all the foreigners looking for that “local” vibe. Awesome. Stay over there while us local foodie explorers find gems like this.

Kwan Kee Claypot Rice

263 Queen’s Road West (entrance off Kwai Heung Street)
Sai Ying Pun, Hong Kong
+852 2803 7209

Verdict: Up for a little adventure into the local eating? This would be your introduction with its good food and foreigner friendly atmosphere.

242016Jun

Kusakabe

Sushi in kaiseki style is the theme of the omakase at Kusakabe. And that drew us here. Along with the fact that it was finally a bit easier getting a reservation. That is of course, if you don’t mind four weeks advanced booking for a table at opening time. We certainly didn’t.

Inside there was seated and given a tasting of dashi as the waitress explained the meal. There were two types of omakase. The normal included 19 items with a price of $95USD a person while the Grand included 25 items with a hefty price tag of $150USD a person. It was a Friday night so why not? We went for broke and got the Grand Omakase. Also we didn’t want to sit there after the meal wondering what six items we had missed. That’s the real eater’s remorse. After we ordered the server explained that we should eat the nigiri with our hands and clean our fingers with the oshibori cloth she provided. I always heard that sushi was meant to be eaten with your hands but never tried it. Now I could say I have and now understand why. You can read about that below in the pictures.

Throughout the meal I realized many of the dishes we had we weren’t going to find around the city. There’s not many serving kaiseki for one, then with sushi, that brings the number to about two in my head. What we were having was a meal to remember. And as I’m writing this I’m already thinking about when I’ll be able to try it again. Way to bring this level of food to the city Kusakabe!

Kusakabe
584 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94111
+1 (415) 757-0155
kusakabe-sf.com

Verdict: Yes, it’s worth the wait, the hype, and the price.

292016May

Don’s Bogam BBQ

New York’s Koreatown has some of the best BBQ restaurants around and today we could confirm that statement. My friend arranged dinner for us at Don’s Bogam BBQ, a favorite for this New York alumni. Little did I know, this was a Michelin Recommended restaurant that, come to think of it, was the first for me when it comes to KBBQ. Wow. A place I go, to gorge on beef, drink lots of beer and soju, celebrate with my friends in the most rambunctious manner and leaving with the sticky film of smoke and garlic. This type of place got the attention of the Michelin peeps. Well, when we got to the restaurant I could see that I was about to up level my KBBQ experience.

The restaurant was like a merger between the traditional and high class dining. We had a few drinks at the fancy bar in front while we waited for everyone to arrive. Table for twelve? Not a problem. However, we had to be split us between two tables of six. Understandable because they are very service driven here. Even though the menu says “Cook your own” the servers do all the cooking for you at your table. So they need the tables to be accessible for the servers. I loved the attention and only had to flag someone down once to, you guessed it, order more of their wonderful beef. Yum!

Expect to stay at least an hour to relax and enjoy your dinner. This isn’t your typical KBBQ place that’s trying to rush people in and out. And although the higher pricing may keep people away, it means you’ll hardly see a line outside. But to be safe, make a reservation.

Don’s Bogam BBQ
17 E 32nd St
New York, NY 10016
+1 (212) 683-2200
donsbogam.com

Verdict: On the pricey side yet well worth it.

262016May

Peter Luger

It was time for dinner and what else to have but steak. New York has some of the best steakhouses in the country. And if you were to ask anyone for a recommendation, you’ll be overwhelmed with the variety. Thankfully, my friend already had one picked out and I tagged along for dinner. The place was Peter Luger, a Michelin star restaurant famous for it large porthouse aged steaks.

When you get inside it’s pretty busy. With the bar right at the entrance, most people are having a drink while waiting for a table. Make a reservation to avoid the wait. We waited for only ten minutes while things were being set up. The table itself was big enough for the four of us. After a brief look over the menu, we knew what we wanted and ordered. Our appetizers came out minutes after went through a few of their assorted breads. Don’t worry, we know not to fill ourselves up before getting to the enormous steak. That was the main objective. But there were some nice bites along the way and you can see those in the food pictures. Throughout the meal, the wait staff were attentive making sure we had our dessert and coffee. It was a complete meal that took an hour and a half to finish. That’s a good thing. We never felt like we were rushed, even with the crowds outside.

Peter Luger
178 Broadway
Brooklyn, NY 11211
+1 (718) 387-7400
peterluger.com

Verdict: A great steakhouse that combines tradition and great cuts of meat for an amazing experience.

152016Apr

Finding Izakaya in Silicon Valley

There are many places around South Bay where you can go to enjoy some food and drinks with your co-workers. For starters, you have all those restaurants around downtown Mountain View on Castro street. Of course, most of them cater to the power lunch crowds. You can’t blame them since business rents in that area are as astronomical as residential rents. So to find a more down to earth comfort foods, you have to look elsewhere. For us, we had two requirements, close to the office and Japanese izakaya. Enter Tanto.

It’s located on El Camino and is a popular spot. So make sure you get reservations. Parking can be problematic too given the annoyed neighboring business who had to deal with the success of Tanto. Make sure you read the signs when you park.

Inside there are your tables and off to the side are booths, semi traditional ones where you can take off your shoes before sitting. It’s a very inviting atmosphere. Add in the wait staff and you’ll feel right at home. Our dishes came out quickly one after the other. And our waitress was helpful in making sure we weren’t over ordering, which we still ended up doing. But hey, she warned us. Sure, the food was classified as Japanese tapas, but the portions were more than what we expected. So glad we had a large enough group!

Tanto Japanese Restaurant
1063 E El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA 94087
+1 (408) 244-7311

Verdict: A must for those of you working in Mountain View or Sunnyvale who don’t want to travel too far for a great meal.

Scroll Up
 Previous  All works Next