Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar

Robata Ramen & Yakitori Bar
2116 Madison
901-410-8290


First off, Robata is adorable.

Untitled

The inside is very cozy and would be a great place to go on a date or even sit at the bar.

Untitled

We were super excited about it opening, so I really have no idea why it took us so long to try it. Last week, on snow day #3, I thought it might be nice to get Warren and the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10) out of Warren's house. (I'd been going to work all week so I was not suffering from cabin fever.)

It smelled great and was packed. We were able to be seated right away though. Our waiter came right over and we ordered drinks--waters all around and happy hour sake for Warren. The water pitcher was a re-purposed St. Germaine bottle. (Robata is Project Green Fork certified, so I am guessing this is one of their extra steps.)

Untitled

We studied the menu trying to make up our minds. I had even looked online before inviting the boys and I was still unsure. Jiro actually settled pretty quickly on a rice bowl with fried chicken -- kara-age don. I tried to talk Satchel into the build your own ramen bowl, but he resisted. He decided on the bbq pork don, which is a rice bowl with, you guessed it, bbq pork. Warren also opted for a rice dish--the takana yaki meshi. I decided to get a few appetizers to share. They were out of gyoza, so the waiter recommended shumai. I also ordered the Robata wings and the tuna poke.

The monkeys' rice bowls came out almost immediately and they dug right in.

Untitled
Untitled

A few minutes later, Warren's came out. He was surprised to see that it was more like fried rice than the kids' rice bowls.

Untitled

Next up were the chicken wings.

Untitled

Satchel, our resident chicken wing fiend turned his nose up at them because of the sesame seeds. The rest of us ate them and thought they were just ok.

The tuna poke had a nice presentation--the women next to us even asked me what it was.

Untitled

There was actually quite a bit of tuna packed in the martini glass. Overall, again, I thought it was just ok. I didn't like the sauce and it was generally bland.

The waiter came to check on us and I let him know we were still waiting on the shumai. It eventually came out and the monkeys and I each grabbed one and took a big bite.

Untitled

Unfortunately the inside was cold and they were not at all appetizing. I let the waiter know and he got us a new order that came out hot. They tasted much better! But now knowing they are a pre-ordered frozen item, I doubt I'll get them again. I can probably buy them myself at the Asian market.

So, we were all done eating and I was unsatisfied. I felt like we ordered all wrong. I mean they don't call it a ramen and yakitori bar for nothing! So I ordered a customized ramen with pork and tofu for everyone to share.

Untitled

Soon the table was filled with happy slurping sounds and cries of, "Why didn't we get ramen in the first place!?"

Untitled

We'll be back. And we'll start with the ramen.

Warren wants to go on a weekend so he can try the Japanese curry.

Robata Ramen and Yakitori Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 09, 2015

Maui Brick Oven

Ed. Note: Maui Brick Oven is now open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Maui Brick Oven
7850 Poplar
Germantown, TN 38138
505-2525


I have been trying to get to Maui Brick Oven for weeks. It's best known as the gluten free pizza place, but I have been wanting to try one of the grain bowls.

Untitled

It's right by my mom's house in Germantown, but it's closed on Sunday, which is when I am usually out that way. I had a reason to head east on Saturday, so the monkeys (Satchel 12, and Jiro, 10) and I had a really late lunch/early dinner there. At 3:00pm we basically had the place to ourselves, which was fine by me.

The inside is very cute and "tropical."

Untitled

It's an order at the counter and take a number place.

Untitled

The cashier was sweet and gave us menus and said we could sit down and look them over, since we had never been in before. Unlike Belly Acres, the menu was in a normal sized font and easy to read, but I really appreciated the fact that they had a magnifying glass available. (Yes, I'm a memaw.)

Untitled

Here's a better look at it.

Untitled

I knew right away that I wanted the pollo bowl ($12) and Jiro wanted a pizza ($13). He decided to get crazy and add bacon to his usual pepperoni order. Satchel insisted he wasn't hungry and just wanted chicken tenders ($7). I really tried to get him to order something more exciting (coconut shrimp, maybe?, but he was insistent.

I went back to the counter to order and the monkeys followed since they had seen these on the way in.

Untitled

Our total was $40.61 plus tip. We took our number and went back to the booth. (Satchel was really excited.)

Untitled

After just a few minutes, my grain bowl came out. I was starved so I went ahead and started eating it. I was very pleased by how it looked.

Untitled

I liked it even better once I mixed it up. (I didn't add any dressing--it didn't need it.)

Untitled

It was really, really tasty. It made me wish Maui Brick Oven was in Midtown.

Satchel's chicken tenders came out next and they were massive.

Untitled

He let Jiro and I sample them and the fries--both were very good.

Next up was Jiro's pizza.

Untitled

He gave the pizza the thumbs up and said it was crispy like Memphis Pizza Cafe. I had a slice and it didn't remind me of the Pizza Cafe, but I thought it was really good.

Neither of the monkeys really knows what gluten free is and neither realized that their food was any different than at any other restaurant. I consider that a good thing.

Throughout the meal, people came to check on us, fill our water, bring to go boxes, etc. (They are not Project Green Fork certified but the to go boxes were paper, not styro.)

Maui Brick Oven is a chain, but as of now there is one in Maui, Hawaii and one in Germantown, TN. One of the local owners has a wife and two children who are celiacs. They live in Midtown and I really, really hope they open another one of these in town.

Maui Brick Oven on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 22, 2014

Belly Acres

Ed. Note: The font issue on the menu has been corrected! I had a lovely grilled chicken sandwich on our last visit and the monkeys were thrilled to see that the kids' meals are served on frisbees now.

Belly Acres
2102 Trimble Place
901-529-7017


I took the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro 10) to Belly Acres for lunch. It's in Overton Square where the Bayou used to be. It's also conveniently located across from the new parking garage, which is free until 6pm.

Belly Acres has only been open about a week, and as with all new places, people are buzzing about it. I was excited to check it out, especially since it has a very distinctive kid-friendly vibe to it.

Untitled

Anyone who remembers the Bayou knows that one of the best features was the patio. The patio wasn't open today, but I can see it teeming with children and mommies with cocktails come spring time. I definitely dreamed of such a place when the monkeys were younger.

We were with our friend, Chip, and his two monkeys (Connor, 11, and Chloe, 8). When we went in (around noon thirty) the place was fairly packed, and with regular people. As in, not families. It was very much a work lunch looking crowd, which I think is a testament to the concept (citified farm fresh) and the excellent location. Anyways, I told the woman at the door that we would like a table for six. She politely informed me that we should order at the counter and then she handed us all menus.

UGH.

Ordering at the counter with six is kind of annoying and I was in the mood to sit down and leisurely look at the menu, since I hadn't been able to find it on my phone earlier in the day. We were in the middle of a crowd of people coming in and suddenly we were in a rush to figure out what to order. To make matters worse, no one over 40 could possibly read the menu with its 8 pt font. The menu board over the registers isn't much better. And honestly, having finally located the menu on the website I can barely read it on my computer screen. Seriously. (Chip agrees with me.)

Anyway, unable to read the menu thoroughly, I decided to get the black eyed pea burger because I heard a friend rave about it on the Facebook. Chip went with the Voodoo Moo Moo which the Flyer recently wrote up. The monkeys wanted basic burgers and weren't super hungry so I just got them the standard kid burger (Belly Burger) off of the "Little Bellies" menu.

Untitled

We sent the kids to save a table while we did the ordering. We were given a street sign and our drinks to take to the table.

Untitled

The kids were happy to have Abita Root Beer on draft in cups they could take home.

Untitled

I was a little cranky about the drinks not being self serve since it was an order at the counter situation, but a waitress/runner came by fairly regularly to offer refills.

While we waited I directed Chip's attention to the bar area.

Untitled

It's cool because you can sit and watch the kitchen action while you enjoy a drink. However, the bar front, which I didn't get a shot of, is all mirrors. So, uh, mommies, be sure and wear pants (or at least panties!) when you belly up to the bar.

HA!

The rest of the place is very cutesy. Everyone loves the soybean field.

Untitled

If you look closely you can see the decorative corn stalks. I love the yellow booths in the windows. There's also a plane going through the wall and a tractor up front to sit on. (Honestly, if my kids were young enough to want to sit on the tractor and I had to navigate the ordering at the counter at the same time, I would need to order myself several drinks.)

After about ten minutes the food came out. Well, some of it. Connor got his chicken tenders and my monkeys got their burgers. That's when Satchel reminded me that he had asked for chicken tenders too. Dammit! I really have gotten used to them mostly ordering for themselves.

He picked off the pickles and sulked for a moment before digging in.

Untitled

Connor, who is a sweetie, actually offered to gave Satchel some of his chicken but he declined. Chip tasted the chicken and said it was really good.

At least Jiro was happy.

Untitled

He gave me a few fries, which were nice and crispy.

A few minutes later, Chip and Chloe got their burgers. They were both happy.

Then there was just me.

Waiting.

Finally my black eyed pea burger came out and I cursed myself for not ordering a regular burger. Or at least actually reading the description.

Untitled

It was topped with sweet potatoes and pickled turnip greens--two of my least favorite foods. The patty itself was super mushy and I just didn't want to eat it. My fries were also on the mushy side, so I was bummed. But it was mostly my fault so I let it go. Satch gave me half of his burger, which was really yummy and it all worked out.

Considering they've only been open a week, the service is fine. And if you want a really good grass fed burger, this is your place. Price wise it's about $10-$15 per adult depending on whether you add fries and a drink. The kid food is a deal at $6.50 with large portions, including fries. I feel certain we will be regulars on the patio once it warms up.

Maybe as they go along they'll ditch a few menu items and increase the font a bit for those of us footing the bill.

Belly Acres on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mosa Asian Bistro

Mosa Asian Bistro
850 S. White Station Road
901-683-8889


Mosa has been on my list of places to go forever. The monkeys (Satchel, 12 and Jiro, 10) and I finally made it there last Saturday afternoon.

Untitled

Mosa was originally on Poplar near Kirby, and was opened by Mr. Eddie, who you may know from the old Formosa on Summer Avenue. (Sidenote: My sister, a few friends and I totally pretended we got lost on the way home from a field trip in high school so that we could go eat at Formosa. I have no idea why they let us drive ourselves. Do they still do that? Anyways, we all got suspended.)

When Mosa was on Poplar it was one of those order at the counter and sit down places. Now it's a sit down place. It's in the shopping center near Poplar & White Station behind Bed, Bath and Beyond.

Untitled

Once inside, we saw several of our Midtown friends. Definitely a good sign. My friend, Mairi, even gave me a few menu suggestions, including the Thai tea.

I was able to get Satchel excited about eating here with the promise of chicken wings. We did not see them on the menu, but thankfully I noticed we walked right past this sign on our way in.

Untitled

Both monkeys were hungry, so we ordered 4 wings of each flavor and an appetizer of dumplings. Jiro also ordered a kids' Teriyaki chicken and Satchel ordered the Niew Ro Mein, which is a soup. I ordered the Thai tea and the hot & sour soup as Mairi suggested.

Untitled

The tea was very yummy. The waiter said it was an orange spiced tea with half & half. No wonder! The dumplings were also a hit.

Untitled

We immediately had to decide how many everyone was getting. I agreed to only have one. After one bite Jiro said, "That's sooooooooo good." Satchel agreed that they were better than the ones at Fresh Market. (We get those to go and cook them at home sometimes.) After his final bite, Jiro said, "That was the most delicious thing ever."

Next up, some spiced peanuts and a cucumber/pickle salad that we were told was the appetizer for Satchel's soup. How awesome is that?

Untitled

Then came the chicken wings. OH MY GOODNESS.

Untitled

Untitled

I am torn as to how I feel about the sauce being on the side for dipping. On the one hand it makes the wing eating experience a little neater. On the other, it really just made me want to slather MYSELF in the Rainbow Panang Curry sauce. IT'S SO GOOD. SO. SO. GOOD.

Untitled

It's sweet, spicy, tangy--it's just everything all at once. I want to marry it. The Sriracha style sauce was fine, but it paled in comparison.

The monkeys just ate the perfectly fried wings plain, which meant I got ALL of the sauce.

We were still working on the wings when everything else came out. Jiro's kids' meal had a lot of vegetables. When I noted it, he said, "Yeah, I guess I'll eat it anyway." Ha!

Untitled

Satchel's soup looked great, and contained stew meat, which he loved.

Untitled

Jiro also wanted some of it and Satchel agreed to share after I agreed to get six more chicken wings.

Untitled

My hot & sour soup was just ok. It was a little peppery and boring after what we'd already had. I passed it to Jiro, and he ate the tofu out of it.

Untitled

Our total bill was $43.15, which really isn't bad considering how much food we ordered. We are totally going back. And I will marry that sauce!

Mosa Asian Bistro on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 10, 2014

Oshi Burger Bar

Oshi Burger Bar
94 S. Main
901-341-2091


Oshi opened up a few weeks ago right down from my office. My friend, Richard, and I tried it out for lunch one day. While he had plenty of jokes to make about the "furniture" the food was served on, and the fact that the cowhide booths are from milking cows, we both agreed the food was tasty.

Last week, the monkeys (Satchel, 12, and Jiro, 10) and I all had dental appointments across the street. It was a cold, rainy day and downtown was seemingly deserted. It seemed like the perfect time to try out the hippest burger joint in town.

Untitled

Warren also had a dental appointment, but had to get back to work since he's on West Coast time. He popped in just to take a look around and place his to go order. We couldn't pass up this photo op.

Untitled

We sat in a booth and perused the menu. Jiro immediately honed in on the milkshakes. They come standard with booze (which is gross, imo), but the waitress said they could all be made alcohol free.

Untitled

We decided to share the Malt Shoppe (Vanilla Ice Cream, Malted Milk, Malted Milk Balls, Bourbon) minus the bourbon. It was delish.

Untitled

File this under, "as long as you continue to pose like this I will continue to post it on the internet."

Untitled

After looking at the burger options, Jiro asked, "Can I just have a burger the way we like it?" Satchel chimed in with, "Yeah I want bacon but not if I have to have bleu cheese." I told them I thought this would be no problem, and I was right.

I ordered the seared tuna tataki salad because I am an idiot. No, because I was trying to be healthy. (On my first visit I had the tuna burger which was great and the kale salad which was even better, but garlicky.)

Before leaving, Warren had instructed me to bring him a Mr. Robato hot dog and kim chi fries. I asked the waitress to please time the to go order accordingly.

The milkshake was gone before our order was in, and it made the monkeys hungry for more. Satchel entertained himself (and the wait staff staring from the bar) by regurgitating his water. Gross.

Untitled

Satchel said, "I can see the chef eating in the kitchen." This cracked him up. Then he motioned to the exposed duct work and said, "See those pipes? Someday they are going to burst and rats will fall on the burgers like rain."

Have I mentioned how gross 12 year olds are?

It was about this time that the waitress came over with a to go bag with Warren's food. I looked at her, and took a deep breath. Satchel sunk down in his seat. I said in my nicest voice, "Uh...I thought I asked if you could time it so that the to go order would be ready at the end of our meal, not the beginning?"

She looked mortified and pointed to where Warren once sat and said, "Oh, I thought you wanted me to rush it so he could take it with him."

I could *maybe* see what she was talking about, even though Warren was gone when I placed the order, but come on. She said she'd put the food under the heat lamp until we were ready. I let it go.

I perused the beer menu, but held strong.

Untitled

Mmmmmm, beer.

Speaking of, the bartender is Gene, who I know from his brief stint at the Cove. He came over a few times to chat up and egg on the monkeys. He even tried to get us all to come sit at the bar. We were the only people there so clearly he was bored.

A short while later, the food came out and the monkeys were all smiles.

Untitled

(Observe the burger "futon" and French fry "chair" that Richard previously thought were so funny.)

Untitled

After a few bites, Jiro said, "Mmmmm this is the BEST BURGER EVER."

Satchel followed with, "Mom, this is one of the best burgers I have ever had. We need to come here more often." Then he added, "You can use that quote."

Satchel even liked the ketchup, which is spicy. I think they add the sweet and spicy sauce from the Asian market (usually next to the Sriracha), but he said it tasted like they added straight up Tabasco.

I'll admit, I wanted a burger. My salad was ok. Thankfully Jiro shared his fries.

Untitled

I'm pretty sure each monkey could have eaten a second burger, but I was able to dodge that bullet. I asked for the check and the waitress brought Warren's to go order back out.

Behold the Mr. Robato hot dog (Wagyu American Kobe All Beef Dog, Ginger Pickles, Umami Mayo, Sesame Seeds, Nori Flakes).

Untitled

And the kim chi fries (Kimchi, Bacon, Beer Cheese).

Untitled

He later reported that they were very good.

Our total bill was $58 plus tip.

The monkeys have already asked to go back.

Oshi Burger Bar on Urbanspoon
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...