Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange

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I have this theory I call the “Disney World theory.” That’s when your favorite thing is the last thing you did. When you just get off Space Mountain that’s your favorite ride until you get off of the Rock and the Rollercoaster and that becomes your favorite ride.

When I drove my son from Chicago to D.C. to Boston, his favorite school was the one we just visited (with a few exceptions, but that’s not what this post is about).

Remington Tavern and Seafood Exchange at 184 Sweeney St., North Tonawanda, is my new favorite seafood spot. So much so I have been there three times in the past month.

It has a very cool vibe and the tables in front by the canal are fun, too. The building is a late 1800s power house on the Erie Canal built by International Railway. The restoration really began in 2007, and it is the current site of this fine restaurant, and a few other businesses.

The bar is located in the middle of the seating area, so you are never very far from friends and diners. They have a seasonal bar menu (don’t you justlove that?) and I started my evening last week with a “Cucumber Cooler.” It was Hendricks gin, fresh lime juice, fresh cucumber and grapefruit bitters all in a highball glass. I liked it both because it had fresh lime and because it was not too sweet.

Our bartender also gave us a primer on the fresh oyster selection. That day they had several from Prince Edward Island and other northern climates. On our tasting plate were oysters called “Rocky Shore,” “Malpeque,” “Beach Blonds” and “Wallace Bay.” The “Beach Blonds” were the mildest of the bunch. Some were a little briny and others were sweet. They were all better with the two sauces. I loved the cocktail sauce with shaved horseradish on top. It was not as hot as I would have expected.

We ordered an appetizer from the specials menu. The stuffed spicy banana peppers were filled with ricotta cheese, extra virgin olive oil and fresh garlic. The filling was smooth and creamy with just the right amount of seeds remaining for the kick. If we have a criticism, it would be the plate and presentation. The plate was too small, because the peppers slid around, which made them difficult to cut. Maybe that lettuce garnish has a purpose, after all? Also, a piece or two of bread would have been helpful, too, as a way to cut the heat for those who do not prefer it. Overall, though, they were delicious.

I asked about the white wine selection and Melanie suggested a glass of Chateau Fantin Bordeaux Blanc from Bordeaux, France. She had me at France since I will be testing French wine in the French countryside next week. It was a smooth wine and a good value at $25 a bottle. I had never tried a white Bordeaux before and was happy for the experience.

We each tried a different entree. The sirloin steak sandwich ($16) with portobello, grilled onion and mozzarella was, as one companion said, cooked to perfection. The grilled chicken breast sandwich ($11) was served the same as the steak sandwich. She loved the caramelized onions and the fresh roll. They were both served with french fries, which had the right amount of crisp.

The grilled barbecue St. Louis ribs ($16 half/$28 full) were spicy and the sauce was generous. The fries were served with a vinegar aioli, which was one of my favorite bites of the evening. I love french fries with vinegar and this was a cool take on that.

20130629-084218.jpgI had one of the dinner specials: seared diver scallops served with a sun-dried tomato cous cous and arugula salad. The scallops were seared with some spice. They were perfectly cooked. My other favorite bite of the evening was the cous cous salad. It was room temperature, which was surprising. What a great idea on a sunny summer day!

When our server offered dessert, I forced my friends to go to the dark side with me. I think they are glad they did. We had an almond lace cookie cup ($8) with whipped cream and fresh berries and a hot fudge brownie sundae ($8) with peppermint stick ice cream. I burned my mouth on the brownie, but was able to sooth it with the creamy ice cream. The lace cookie cup had a lovely brown sugar flavor and the caramel sauce was a nice balance with the fresh fruit (blueberry, mango and strawberry).

If you go, know they do not accept reservations, so you should be ready to enjoy hanging at the bar. The vibe is very cool and I look forward to my next visit.

Have a yummy day!

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A Day Of New York Minutes

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4:25 am: I’m up before the alarm for my 6:45 am flight. It’s safe to say that happens never.

5:01 am: put on sensible shoes and put suitcase into car.

5:04 am: change sensible shoes and replace with more stylish shoes.

5:11 am: depart for airport 11 minutes late. No worries…I won’t stop for coffee and will ” make it up in the air.”

5:54 am: arrive at the airport, park and board shuttle. Meet a fellow foodie. Chat about food. He also makes his own Lemoncello. He uses grain alcohol, not sold in New York, which he procures from a friend in Ohio. I share my Polish potato alcohol and Pisco combination. We chat all the way through the TSA line.

6:13 am: have my ID in one hand, sweater in the other at the front of the line. No boarding pass. Oops. Quickly go backward in line. Obtain boarding pass. Back in TSA line.

6:25 am: My need for coffee supersedes all other things, including boarding a plane. Buy coffee.

6:30 am: entered line as they called my row. No problem. Easy peazy lemon squeezy.

6:35 am: seated next to my new foodie friend. Took my allergy medicine so my very clogged ears would not explode.

6:50 am: flight in the air, eardrums intact

7:45 am: Kennedy – early arrival

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Terri is pretty happy with her Jamba Juice!

8:06 am: Jamba Juice!! I had an Orange Carrot Karma Smoothie and it was good ’til the last slurp.

9:31 am: Penn Station madness…it may be the worst smelling place ever. Only go to the restroom if it is a dire emergency. Trust me on that one.

9:55 am: drop stuff off at hotel on 40th Street. Head to Rockefeller Plaza and Sak’s Fifth Avenue.

IMG_292910:12 am: stopped for a quick bite and quick sip at Pax.  We ordered a few iced lattes and tea along with a lemon bar and red velvet cupcake to share. The quality of the food here is very good but we were disappointed at how dry both our confections were. Brush off the crumbs. Move on.

11:34 am: Ran into Rod Stewart.IMG_2932

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_293612:30 pm: stopped by Cafe Metro for some Spicy Southwestern Pasta Salad. It had black beans and corn with a creamy mayo. I would have preferred a little less mayo but it was a tasty salad.

1:25 pm: birthday surprise at a Mid-Town Manhattan women’s clothing store. The birthday girl never saw it coming.

1:40 pm: drinks at a restaurant on 7th Avenue in Times Square. I wish I could remember the name so I could tell you not to go. Sorry.

6:00 pm: Pedi-cab ride to 39th Street Pier. BUYER BEWARE: Know/negotiate the price in advance and have cash.IMG_2949

 

 

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7:10 pm: Ferry to Lincoln Harbor (next to the Lincoln Tunnel) and a short walk to the Chart House.

7:30 pm: arrive and are seated at a curved table with a panoramic view of Manhattan.

7:30 – 10 pm: ate delicious food while staring at one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. I cannot recommend this location more. Be sure to ride the ferry ($17/round trip) if you are capable of walking a bit. Make reservations via Open Table and allow yourself at least two hours. Also, the last ferry leaves around 10:30 pm so be sure to work that into your plan. There are plenty of taxies at the 39th Street station to take you to your destination.

11:15 pm: arrived at the Marriott Marquise Hotel in Times Square. My friend “had a guy” who could get us past the line and up into the rotating dining room for a night cap.  Drank a pineapple Caipirinha which probably would have been amazing had I not been up since 4:25 am.

photo (16)12:45 am: the view of the Empire State Building from my bed. Goodnight world!

It’s Fun to Eat at the Bar!

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I travel a lot, often by myself. While I am not averse to eating alone with a book or my iPad, I most often enjoy sitting among my soon to be friends at the bar. You usually get served more quickly and you often have small plate options not available on the full menu.

Twice in New Orleans I ate memorable meals at the bar. The first was at the Acme Oyster House where I watched a highly skilled oyster shucker open hundreds of oysters an hour. I settled in my seat after only a few minutes waiting outside in a line that went around the block. A simple question of availability at the bar afforded me the chance to eat an oyster po boy and it was one of the best sandwich bites of my life. I am not sure what the sauce was but the combination of the fresh bread, perfectly fried oysters and sauce makes my mouth water as I write.

The second time was at K Paul’s on Chartres Street in the French Quarter. Again, there was a large crowd waiting for tables but I spotted a spot at the end of the bar. I asked the bartender his specialty and he boasted he won the award in New Orleans several years in a row for his original twist on the New Orleans Hurricane. I must admit, it was a tasty drink.

When it was time for dinner I asked him my usual question: “If I never return, what is the one dish I must try while visiting your city?”

His answer was the stuffed pork chop. It was a very large pork chop filled with herbs and cheese. It has been a while so I cannot remember the particulars but it was a delicious dish. The meat was very juicy, which is no easy task on a cut so think. When a gentleman sat at the bar a few seats over he asked about the specialty that evening. The bartender asked me to let the man know my thoughts and he ordered the same thing. As we chat with the others at the bar we talked about home. He said he was traveling north to New York to attend his niece’s high school graduation. A few more minutes of conversation determined he grew up in Kenmore, NY and was attending Lewiston Porter’s graduation.

It truly is a small world as Lew-Port is my alma mater, as well. You just never know who you will meet.

I twice dined at the bar this past week. On Saturday we had some wine and watched the Master’s at Hops N Vines in Lewiston. We enjoyed the mussels in white wine sauce and lobster bisque mac and cheese brought down from Casa Antica.

Another wonderful bar dining experience happened last week when I suggested to my friend Amy we grab one drink after work. We settled on Oliver’s where we met at Christmastime and enjoyed a chocolate martini expertly created by bartender Mike. I sincerely love watching a bartender mix a drink and interact with the crowd.

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We enjoyed a French 75. This gin and lemon drink must be making a major comeback because it was new to me just a few weeks ago and I now have several ones to compare. Mike offered it with gin or vodka and since reading about it when I wrote my Town Hall review I wanted to try one with gin. He used fresh lemon juice and simple syrup. He added ice and gin to a shaker and shook to chill the liquid. He poured it into chilled martini glasses and added champagne to the top. I may have a new favorite drink.

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I was hungry and I talked Amy into splitting a a bowl of parsnip soup with crispy pancetta. They were kind enough to actually split the soup into two bowls. If you are watching your waistline and your wallet it is a great idea to share. Some restaurants charge a fee for this but it is still worth it because no one needs the portions served at most restaurants.

We also shared a pizza. It was no ordinary pizza, either. It was called a Cuccidati Pizza, bitter greens, fresh ricotta, walnut & fig pesto. I am a big fan of figs and this was really good.

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Mike barely suggested dessert and I pounced on the idea . Yes, the lady may have appeared too eager but the offerings were so yummy who could resist? This was a chocolate torte with a butter crunch ice cream and a toffee crisp on top. There apparently was caramel on the plate but I talk too much and Amy took complete advantage and ate most of it. I forgive her because I ate most of the toffee. It all evens out.

Next time you find yourself alone at a restaurant, I highly recommend sitting at the bar. You will enjoy the camaraderie, learn about the area and never dine alone.

Have a yummy day!

The Glamour of Traveling

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When I had the honor of singing the US and Canadian national anthems at Toronto’s Skydome (before Rogers amassed their billions for the naming rights) I met a woman who was to throw the first pitch. Prior to the game all of the pre game folks rehearse according to a carefully prepared and timed script.

She had to go to the mound…or many feet in front of the mound and practice throwing to the catcher. Wow, that’s hard. I was impressed she got it even near the plate. She said she had been throwing the ball to her husband for weeks to practice.

When it was my turn to practice they cued my tape and I (shudder, yes, I lip synced) sang the anthems with all my heart into a dead mic. Easy peazy lemon squeezy.

This whole process blew first pitch woman’s mind. “Wow, you sounded great! Where do you sing? Are you famous?”

“Um…I sing most often in church and I am decidedly not famous.” But, she was not buying it one bit. Not famous? Not possible. She kept at it. “How often do you sing the national anthem?” At that point I had sung for the Sabres a few times and sang at what is now Progressive Field in Cleveland for the Indians.

Of course I was famous, or so she believed. When she gushed again she declared my life must be so glamorous. By then I didn’t have the heart to tell her differently since she already didn’t believe me. Even today, whenever I clean my bathroom I think of first pitch lady and the glamour of my life.

Travel is glamorous. Traveling is not.

I write this from a hotel room in North Carolina at about 12:30 AM. A ten and a half hour journey took nearly fifteen hours today.

Apparently God picked Florida up by the Keys and shook it like a rug, flicking everyone without a Florida zip code back to the northern state where they belonged. I’m convinced that the only people left are the senior citizens and the food service folks who serve them their early bird specials.

It took 3 1/2 hours to drive through South Carolina and those that were not in their cars in post holiday gridlock were eating at the Cracker Barrel. No lie, my mom and I had to wait 20 minutes for a table at 9 PM. Thank God they have biscuits. And sweet tea. And grits.

But the trip was worth everything we experienced today because my family was mostly together last weekend (missing a nephew and family who stayed back home and a niece who was traveling through Italy).

Cousins got to make new memories, siblings and parents played Monopoly and 500 Rummy and I got to cook.

My sister and I prepared our annual seafood feast on Good Friday. The kids actually look forward to it and I don’t think we disappointed anyone. It is a hefty investment but worth the expense and time. We really kept it simple this year with only one hot side (my orzo with roasted grape tomatoes) and a “nice” salad. Our cousin brought a really cool bread bowl and cupcakes. We had a great evening.

20130414-203607.jpgHere is a quick trick for grilled shrimp: marinate them with the shells on with lemon, lots of garlic and good olive oil. Get your grill screaming hot. Instead of just one skewer, use two to create some stability. Cook each side for only a few minutes until just pink.

One of the highlights of my trip was dinner at the Chart House in Fort Lauderdale. The dinner was as good as the view. There are many of these restaurants across the country. Each one has a view of the water. My favorite is in Dana Point, California. If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend it. It will be a special dinner so be prepared for a pricey a la carte menu.

From Thursday through Monday we had nine people living in a two bedroom condo. Close! But I wouldn’t trade the joy on my mother’s face when she saw an entire pew filled with her family on Easter Sunday.

No, traveling is not glamorous, but well worth the effort knowing we once again made memories of a lifetime.

Have a yummy day!

Brunch Is Back! Town Hall – Lewiston NY

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20130324-201513.jpgThis pretty and delicious drink is the perfect testimony that brunch has come a long way from the long silver chafing dishes filled with dry scrambled eggs, over cooked potatoes and bowls of fruit cocktail fresh from a can.

Town Hall, an upscale bistro in Lewiston, opened during the USA Today/Rand McNally Best of the Road mega food tour last June. Their addition gave us all yet another option for dining on Center Street. I love talking to folks from around Western New York talk about Center Street like they would talk about Chippewa or Hertel or Maple. People know that a drive over bridges and down a hill takes them to shops and restaurants like nowhere else in the area.

Lewiston may not have won best of the road but being named one of the 10 Best Small Towns in America was not a coincidence.

We made 11:30 AM reservations for Brunch and I’m really glad I did. When I arrived the bar was already busy with folks waiting for friends to arrive or to just hang out after church. The tables were filling up and we were seated at one of the booths along the side. The high backs made for a private dining experience although the room is not large and the noise level pretty high.

Brunch is back in a big way all across the country. My son and his friends go to brunch almost every weekend in New York City. Silly mommy thinks it’s for the delicious food at reasonable prices where, in reality, the fact he calls it “Drunk Brunch” should tell me that the reason is the inexpensive drink specials.

Town Hall brings that party theme to Lewiston. A friend of mine told me about the $1 Bloody Mary’s and Bloody Caesars so I was ready. Unfortunately, New York State does not allow beverage service until 12:00 PM.

What to do?

Sydnee, our capable, busy and very sweet server told us about their brunch specials so we decided to enjoy some sliced cinnamon rolls slathered with a not too sweet cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with a little powdered sugar and a cup of coffee while we waited to order our adult beverages. It’s the first time I have ever ordered an appetizer at brunch. Very civilized.

When noon rolled around Sydnee quickly visited all of her tables where the people were just as anxious as us to order one of the interesting beverage options. Check out their menu online to see their brunch offerings. We ordered a Bloody Mary and a drink called a Berries and Basil. It was a wine glass filled with lemon juice, sparkling wine and simple syrup with sliced strawberries and mulled basil. It was refreshing in a sort of wine mojito way. If you like mojito’s and basil you will enjoy this drink. The Bloody Mary was well made and the size you would expect for $1. Still, you could not drive if you spend $5 so it is a great value.

There are a lot of breakfast/brunch/lunch options on the menu and they are all reasonably priced. I also appreciated the portion sizes. They were perfect not just at noon but all day long. I had a hard time deciding what to have. I waffled (not on the menu and you won’t miss them) between the Lobster Frittata ($10) and the Eggs Benedict ($8) and eventually chose the Duck Hash ($9)

20130325-065152.jpgServed in a cast iron casserole dish, the combination of duck confit, potatoes, onions and a poached egg topped with a Tabasco hollandaise was the perfect choice. Duck confit? That takes two days to prepare and I thought the duck had good flavor. The dish had a great balance and the poached egg was cooked just right so that when I put my fork into the yoke it ran happily to over the spicy potatoes and onions.

We also had the Pulled Pork Quesadilla ($8). It was a crispy tortilla filled with slow roasted pork, Chipotle BBQ sauce, peppers and onions with Jack cheese I liked the crunch and flavor. It was not too spicy and I would not have minded more heat.

When we ate every last morsel on our plates we decided to order another beverage sampling. The BLT was surprisingly good. Usually when I get one of these funky drinks I love the first few sips, like the next few then regret the order. The flavor of bacon in a beverage is unusual and not unwelcome. It was a pretty presentation and good to the last drop.

20130325-070043.jpg I ordered the French 75 with vodka. Had I known the original was made with gin I would have had it that way. It was a light wine spritzer with vodka, lemon juice, simple syrup and sparkling wine. It is the kind of drink I would enjoy on a summer day over ice.

If you go, be sure to make a reservation and remember that it may be noon somewhere but it’s not until 12:00 PM in Lewiston.

Have a yummy day!

Our 1st Quick Bite Quick Sip Contest

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Win $25 from the

Lewiston Village Pub!publogonew-01-125

‘Quick Bites and Quick Sips!’

Here’s how it works: At the beginning of every month, we will announce the theme of the month. You drink and dine around town and nominate your favorite sip or bite. You must describe why you like it in 140 characters or less.

Feel free to take a picture. Send the “Quick Bite” or “Quick Sip,” picture (including the name of the restaurant or tavern) to us by Wednesday March 27.

Include your first and last name. You will be notified via email if you are the winner of a $25 gift certificate to the Lewiston Village Pub.

There are lots of ways to submit your entry:

You can go to the exclusive Jude The Foodie page on WNYPapers.com and contact us there.

You can submit your entry on the Jude The Foodie Facebook page. Don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook so you can get all of the announcements and win prizes.

And you can e-mail JudeTheFoodie@gmail.com with all of the information.

Restaurants are welcome to invite their patrons to participate.

On Monday, April 1, we will announce a winner and publish their “Quick Bite” or “Quick Sip” along with the next month’s theme.

 March theme: “Grandma’s Kitchen”

I’ll start: When I think of Grandma’s kitchen, I think of the biscotti at the Village Bake Shoppe in Lewiston. It’s a memory of Grandma’s house!

 Now you get out there and give it a try. Have a yummy week!

All My Old Stuff…

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20130303-185140.jpgA few weeks ago I baked a cake. I looked at these pans and I thought, “how did I get old enough to have pans older than my mothers?” Then I really started to think, when I started baking I was about 12 years old. By then my mother had been married for 21 years and, of course, 21 year old anything to a 12 year old is really old.

YIKES! My pans are 32 years old. How did this happen?

Remember juice glasses?

20130303-184420.jpgThey were proper serving size glasses for a 6-8 ounce serving of orange juice. We used them every morning for our perfectly measured portion of juice. Everything is ginormous now, isn’t it?

What we used to use as dinner plates when we were kids are now called lunch plates. Cereal bowls when we were kids are now called snack size. But I have news for you, friends. The proper serving size has not changed. We just eat 3-4 servings at a time now because, hey, they call them cereal bowls.

I was at my mom’s recently when she was mixing waffles for the kids and had these bowls out on the cupboard.

20130303-184152.jpgI even recognized the sound they made when she was stacking them. Just the sound of the bowls brought me back. They were old when I was a kid but they are actually still beautiful today.

Here are my bowls. They were so modern, with their handle and pour rims when I got married back in the day. But looking at them now, heck, they are just old, like I thought my mom’s stuff was years ago.

20130303-185254.jpgPerspective is an amazing thing.

Wedding season is upon us and bridal showers are frequent. I love to sit up front and watch the bride open all her new things. I really laughed a few weeks when one of my mature woman friends did her own brand of bridal shower stand-up.

“Oh look, matching dish towels. I still have matching dish towels…yeah, they all have faded grey stains on them!”

“Isn’t that great? She is starting with a full set of flatware. She should put GPS on her teaspoons. What happens to all of my teaspoons?”

“Oh my God! Someone gave her red towels. I just cannot think about that one.”

If youth is wasted on the young, I say bridal showers are wasted on the engaged. It’s too bad that by the time all of our teaspoons disappear we cannot grab one of those scanning guns at Bed Bath and Beyond, invite everyone’s mothers and throw ourselves a shower.

Have a yummy day!

Fuji Grill – Hibachi Fun

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Have you ever been to an Hibachi restaurant? My first experience was Fuji Grill located at 7310 Niagara Falls Blvd, Niagara Falls, NY 14304 (716-283-6388).

I had recently been to Melting Pot at the Galleria and thought they may be similar. I could not have been more wrong. At the Melting Pot you cook your own food. At Fuji Grill an amazing highly skilled chef prepares your meal table side. 20130225-153118.jpgI suggest calling for a reservation and going with at least four people. This is an experience to be shared. Each grill seats about ten but they put parties less than that at each corner so while you are dining with guests with whom you are not familiar it is not the least bit intrusive.

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As soon as my three dining companions were seated we ordered beverages. Beer and wine for my friends and a special Hawaiian Volcano made with Southern Comfort, amaretto, and the juice of pineapple, orange and lime created a sweet way to begin my meal.

I will admit something right away. I’m a clean freak when it comes to food. I found it fascinating the server set trays onto the hibachi. Aren’t they going to cook on it? Not to worry. Prior to the food preparation a very meticulous cleaning readied the grill.

Our chef was trained in five international cuisines and was very proud of Keating and teaching Bette Midler how to cook. He passed sticky pictures all around.

We began our meal with appetizers. If you have been a regular reader you know that if calamari is on the menu I will be sure to try it. We also had the Gyoza which are pan fried pork dumplings and the Walking Shrimp which were crispy shrimp with spicy cream sauce. These were my favorite.

As soon as we were served our appetizers the show began. During the hibachi preparation we were served salad or soup. I had the salad and thought the dressing was very refreshing. It had the flavor of thousand island but with a texture finely chopped lettuce. It was unusual and delicious.

Some of us had entrees with rice and some with noodles. The rice preparation was interesting including the egg to bind it. It was really fun to see how they prepare fried rice. It was very tasty.

I thought I would ask questions as we went along, being the curious foodie I am but between the fast pace, loud room and slight language barrier I decided to just go along for the ride.

Our group had chicken and rice, steak and rice and the Sushi Deluxe platter with included one roll. There was a nice variety in the sushi platter and she enjoyed the sauces.

We each got a pairing of sauce which came in little cups. It was great not having to worry about double dipping.

My entree was tenderloin and lobster. The lobster is removed from the shell and placed on the plate with noodles (my choice). The lobster meat os cooked on the hibachi with various flavorings and served back in the shell.

20130225-153652.jpgThe fish was cooked perfectly. My tenderloin was cooked to my medium rare specifications and added a perfect balance to my meal. I would order this every time I come here. It was just that good. Everyone else seemed to enjoy their meals as much as I did.

Another interesting flair was the spraying of Sake from squeeze bottles. This was a first for me. I passed on the first round but decided to play along the next. It was very sweet and not at all the Sake of my memory. They must water it down with something sweet or they would have more lawsuits than they could handle. The kids could play along, too as they also had a bottle clearly marked SODA for them. Their motto was “more Sake means more fun!

No dinner is complete without dessert and we ordered two. One was a chocolate pot and was very good. The other was the Exotic Bomba and I highly recommend it.

20130225-153716.jpgIt is a beautiful sorbet dessert that is the perfect companion to the meal.

I thought the experience, the food and fun worth another visit. Give it a try and let me know what you thought.

Have a yummy day!