Fish Market Sushi Bar – Allston, MA

The one there on the right-most side... with the truffle.... Mmmmm....

The one there on the right-most side… with the truffle…. Mmmmm….

I think my favorite thing about college towns is that there are always fabulous places to eat, and at a great price too!  Among my favorites in the Boston area, Fish Market Sushi Bar totally kills it. In fact, I would consider this to be my favorite sushi place in the area (so far!).  The restaurant is a little small, maintaining a handful of tables and some bar seating.  Personally, I like this a lot and I think it really adds to the charm.

Overall, the sushi is very fresh (heck, it’s not called Fish Market Sushi Bar for nothing) and there are a ton of innovative dishes to select from.  Of course you have your standard sushi rolls — tuna, salmon, california, and some other decorated sushi rolls — and then you’ve also got your Kobe beef maki and.. Truffle and Foi Gras maki?!?!  Yes, you read that correctly.  And by golly, those rolls are ah-mazing!

Fish flesh, my favorite!

Fish flesh, my favorite!

Fish Market also now serves an Omakase (“I’ll leave it to you” in Japanese) on their menu.  At $50 a person for the course it’s a total deal!  The Omakase consists of chef’s choice sushi pieces that is delivered to you in about 5 or 6 courses (appetizer, 4 sushi courses, and dessert).  I know, I know… it doesn’t sound like a lot but I assure you that you will be filled, and you will be left wanting to eat the Omakase constantly.

While the pieces are indeed chef’s choices, don’t think that you will be getting simple tuna sushi pieces.  The sushi pieces that come in the Omakase are handcrafted and artistic pieces created by the sushi chef.  I couldn’t tell you exactly what I had (there were a lot of pieces and a lot of ingredients to remember), but the pieces included ingredients such as truffle oil, octopus, shiso leaves, uni, tuna belly, foie gras, among other items.  The chef carefully selects which ingredients and flavors will work best with each other in order to create the best pieces of sushi you’d ever eaten.  And for a food experience such as this (and one with which you’ll feel satiated) — it’s a steal!

So many pieces!  My favorite was the one in the middle with the uni.

So many pieces! My favorite was the one in the middle with the uni.

So much truffle.  So much love.

So much truffle. So much love.

Fish Market totally and absolutely is a must try.  It holds the atmosphere of a small-run sushi bar, but has serves up the innovation and artistic foods of a high-end sushi restaurant.  While Fish Market does indeed provide delivery services, I would highly recommend dropping by and sitting at the bar to see the chefs in action!

Fish Market Sushi Bar
170 Brighton Ave
Allston, MA
(617) 783-1268
www.fishmarketsushibar.com

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Back from hiatus + REVIEW: WASABI (Seattle)

Goldie is out on the town again!  It has been a while since I posted last but I am ready to write!  (Get ready for a long one)

The last two years have been pretty major for me — getting used to post-graduate life, learning to manage my time and money better, and of course learning to prioritize what’s important in life and determine my life goals.  People say college is really when you become who you are, but I think that after college is really when you are shaped into the adult you will become.  I don’t disagree that there is some sort of self-discovery that occurs in college, but after you graduate and are out of the college community, you have more time to yourself and to reflect about who you really are without others influencing who you should become.  With that, adjusting to normal life again becomes a little more hectic alongside learning how to manage relationships in a non-school environment as well as your financials and health.  Granted, it didn’t really take me the whole two years to get on my feet (honestly, I kind of forgot about this project), but I definitely needed to take a step away to figure out if this was something I really even wanted to invest time in, period.  Since then, I’ve definitely been discovering places of interest (and I think even my taste buds have matured) and have even posted some yelp.com reviews.  Then, I figured that if I was reviewing restaurants (among other things) I might as well start blogging again!  And here I am!  The first time around I feel like it was definitely forced, but this time I really hope to be able to share my experiences in a more casual and genuine way. But of course, as a disclaimer, I do love eating and I love good food but I am in no way involved in the restaurant community or am a chef.  Also, I may not be the best at writing but I can assure you that I will try to relay my feelings and experiences in a way that you can relate!

NOTE: You may notice that I probably will be posting about restaurants I have already visited in the future.

As some of you may or may not remember, my boyfriend lives nearby in Boston so I frequent there a lot.  Over the last few months, I have also had the luxury of traveling a little more for both work and leisure.  Recently, at the beginning of April, I visited Seattle, WA on business.  Providence -> Seattle?  Fantastic food cities?!  I was definitely excited.  Although I had the pleasure dining out at a fantastic sushi restaurant (which I may cover in the future), I unfortunately also had possibly the worst restaurant food experience of my life.

WASABI | Seattle, WA

FullSizeRenderWARNING: This review will be totally, and brutally, honest.

As I mentioned, I was in Seattle for business recently.  While there, my colleagues and I went to the trendy Wasabi Bistro on 2nd Ave in the downtown area.  When we got there, I was surprised to see that they served not only sushi, but Korean food too!  Having eaten sushi the day before, I decided to go the Korean-food route instead.  This looked like a pretty upscale place with good food, so why not?  That was probably the worst food choice of my life.

Now, I understand that Wasabi is mainly a place to dine on sushi but to have a whole menu dedicated to Korean food, it must be decent, right?  And while it may not be as good as the sushi, there was no way that it could have been that terrible, right?  Otherwise, they wouldn’t have included a Korean food menu.  Or so I thought.  As I mentioned before I wasn’t quite in the mood to eat sushi since I’d eaten it the night before.

Sundubu Jjigae

I began my Wasabi journey by, first, ordering the Sundubu Jjigae which consists of soft tofu, vegetables, and seafood spicy broth.  I am not a n00b when it comes to Sundubu Jjigae.  In fact, it’s one of my favorite things to make myself! And yes, it has a dashi (seafood) broth base, but I enjoy it more with thin slices of pork belly.  Moreover, that’s how it is served at many Korean restaurants I’ve been to too (and some places actually give you a choice of meat).  So, of course, I asked if it were possible to substitute the seafood (squid, chunks of fish, octopus, etc) for sliced pork belly instead.  Otherwise, I would order the Sam gyup sal instead (I’ll get to that later…).

If the answer was simply: “No, we cannot make substitutions” I would have been totally fine with that.  Instead, when the waiter returned, he proceeded to tell me that he asked the chef and that the chef gave him a look of despair.  It was going to be too hard to make Sundubu Jjigae with sliced pork?  Ehh… It’s really not that hard. Honestly.  My thought then was that 1) the chef really just didn’t know what he was doing (move aside!) or 2) the kitchen just makes a huge batch of the jjigae and possibly reheat it as ordered (even small hole-in-the-walls have the jjigae made-to-order and make it in a stone bowl).  So ok, there was no way to have it with the sliced pork with the jjigae because of restaurant rules then that would be no problem.  But the fact that I got an explanation that the chef was “scared” of screwing it up doesn’t give me much faith in the kitchen.  In fact, it’s embarrassing for a good looking restaurant’s kitchen to straight up not know how to make simple Sundubu Jjigae, which might I remind you is just a Soft Tofu Stew, especially if they have a Korean kitchen menu decked out in Korean-named foods.

Sam gyup sal

I wasn’t able to get my simple soft tofu stew, but I wasn’t going to let that ruin my night.  All I wanted was something simple and how much more simple can you get than grilled pork belly?  There wasn’t anyway to screw up simple grilled pork belly. The Sam gyup sal (samgyeopsal) couldn’t fail me, right?  And hey!  Korean pork dishes are FANTASTIC!  I couldn’t be more wrong about food in my life…

Presentation
The Sam gyup sal dish at Wasabi was served with, of course, grilled pork belly, a green dipping sauce, a small portion of a greens salad, a side dish of garlic in a spicy sauce, and a side of kimchi (Note: Korean foods are often served with side dishes, called banchan). Overall, the presentation was cute and modern.  It consisted of the pork, sauce, salad, garlic, and kimchi laying across a long white rectangular plate.  No problems here.  Not yet.

Salad

The salad looked pretty normal.  Good.  But it was teeming of sesame oil smells.  Bad.  The salad was drenched in sesame oil.  And, for anyone who has ever cooked with sesame oil, you would know that it has an extremely strong taste and flavor so you would only use a little bit of it in anything, unless it is a main ingredient.  You definitely would not drench a salad in just sesame oil.  There was absolutely no vinegar of any sort in the dressing to break up the heaviness of the sesame oil.  I honestly felt like I was drowning in oil by eating the salad.  I could not eat anymore of it after one bite.  So I moved on to the pork belly.

Pork Belly

The pork belly was so thickly cut that I felt like I was eating pure fat with a little bit of meat on it.  It was nothing your simple samgyeopsal (Korean BBQ).  I had so much hope for it because how badly could you f— up grilled pork?  This was a clear example of how less is more.  I could feel the pork fat lining the insides of my stomach.  And there was so. Much. Pork. Belly. On. The. Plate.  How were they seriously expecting people to eat fatty pork belly with a heavy sesame-oil drenched salad?  Preposterous!  At least there was the Korean kimchi.  They definitely couldn’t screw the kimchi up, right?

Kimchi

Wrong.  The kimchi I had at Wasabi was probably the worst kimchi I have ever eaten in my life.  And I love kimchi and I have eaten a lot of it!  Kimchi should be slightly sour, slightly salty, spicy, and refreshing.  Forget about this kimchi though — similar to how the salad was drenched in sesame oil, the kimchi was drenched in…. fish sauce.  I understand kimchi may indeed have fish sauce in it, but it tasted as though the amount you would put in a container of kimchi existed in this one, very tiny, serving of kimchi.  It tasted as though someone shook fish sauce onto this serving as if they were putting fish sauce in a batch of green papaya salad.  Again, I felt like I was drowning in salt and fish, not to mention I was already drowning in pig fat and sesame oil.  It was absolutely terrible.

There was a side dish of garlic, but because the other dishes were so terrible I didn’t even bother to touch it.

Food Afterthoughts

After tasting my order, I really regretted not going with the sushi.  Since they had a Korean menu, though, I hoped it would be close to decent.  My advice to the restaurant would be to totally ditch the Korean menu because clearly they couldn’t even get the basics right.  And, yes, I get it.  Chefs can totally be innovative with the food.  But I truly believe that a good chef at an upper scale restaurant should try to be “innovative” with food if they don’t even understand the flavors of the foods they are trying to emulate.  Every food on my dish was overly-something.  Too fatty.  Too thick.  Too salty.  It was almost as if they were trying to cover up their non-understanding of Korean food with these other “flavors”.  Simple, clean, refreshing, and a little savory is what my meal should have been and Wasabi missed all of those points on such a basic Korean food.  To have such Korean food like that being served is a completely misleading to have an entire menu for it.

Presentation only goes so far.

Atmosphere

Overall, the atmosphere is okay.  It’s a little too pretentious for my tastes, and honestly I would only go there again if I wanted overpriced sushi and cocktails and dress up in my fanciest clubbing get-up.

Service

The service was OK.  Our waiter was a total air-head who forgot drinks and didn’t even know the menu… not to mention a lack of professionalism for such a classy-looking establishment.  He was nice though.


While my review of Wasabi Bistro Japanese Restaurant is harsh, this is really my own opinion on the Korean food they serve there and may not necessarily reflect other items on the menu.  Their sushi may actually be decent and it may be great for others!  Personally, the atmosphere and food ethic just doesn’t do it for me.

Determine for yourself if you’re in the Seattle area!
Wasabi Bistro Japanese Restaurant
2311 2nd Ave
Seattle, WA 98121

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It’s that time of year again!!

It’s time for Summer Restaurant Week in Providence!!

Which restaurants will YOU be trying this time around?

Check out the link below!
http://www.goprovidence.com/rw/

Check back here for recommendations for restaurants to go to!

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Alexandria, LA

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About two weeks ago flew out to Alexandria, LA for work and you bet I took advantage of me being in Louisiana to try real Louisiana styled food.  Alexandria is a small town, but its size definitely did not take away from the fact that the few places we found had some damn nice food.

Cajun Landing

The first restaurant I tried in Alexandria was a quaint restaurant called Cajun Landing.  When I first walked in, it felt like I was walking into someone’s home.  It was carpeted and had a lot of southern home decorations hanging, as well as decorations and furniture for sale.  There was even a section where you could buy different spices and sauces for cooking!  The seating area was fairly large and hada comfy and warm atmosphere too.

Cajun Landing had a number of items on the menu, but I wanted to try strictly-Louisiana styled foods.  So, I went with the classic etouffee (I know… I’ve never had it before).  Before that was even served, though, I was presented with a lovely little cup of lobster bisque.

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I’m not usually a fan of thick seafood soups like this (apart from New England Clam Chowder — hollaaaaaah!!!), but I actually did like this very much.  This lobster bisque that they served was not overwhelmingly lobster-tasting.  It was more spicy, if anything.  Not that unbearable spicy that’ll make you feel like you’re melting spicy, but a nice kick of “oomph tasty!” spicy.

 When I was served the etouffee, I was as excited as a little kid on Christmas.  It looked like everything I always thought of when I thought of Cajun Louisiana food — seafood with that saucy kick!  It tasted just as I had imagined it tasting.  What I didn’t expect was how spicy it actually was.  After eating a few spoonfuls, I found myself actually having to drink some water to cool my mouth down.  As a fan of spicy foods, I actually enjoyed this as it made the dish not as bland.  The dish was also served with the staple fried sweet bread.  It was good, but I wasn’t able to finish it with the etouffee since it was served with rice.

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The atmosphere was nice and the wait staff was friendly, despite a few hiccups in service (like forgetting to return a glass of water and forgetting to get hot sauce) but I’ll give it to them — it was busy.  Overall, the food was good and I thought it was a nice introduction to Louisiana food for me.

 

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Quick Breakfast stop — Sentry Grill

I didn’t manage to take any pictures for this quick breakfast stop, but enjoy this picture of the bridge over the Red River in downtown Alexandria!

If you’re ever in town, be sure to stop by the Sentry Grill.  It’s an old fashioned diner, and if you didn’t know about it, you’d probably miss it.  The food is awesome there and it’s really cheap too!  Do try the grits!

Robbie G’s

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Robbie G’s.  Oh, Robbie G’s.  Among the locally recommended restaurants, Robbie G’s was always at the top of everyone’s list.  It’s a cool little seafood shack with a bit of a biker’s edge to it.  The restaurant served foods from po boys, fried fish, to (pounds of) boiled crawfish.  Initially I couldn’t decide between the a crawfish po boy and the pound of boiled crawfish, but I eventually went with the crawfish po boy.

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After putting the dressings on the sandwich, I was finally able to enjoy the po boy.  The sandwich was overflowing with fried crawfish.  I wasn’t complaining though.  I had just enough crawfish to eat with the dressings in the sandwich and eat some on the side. I loved the tartar sauce that it was served with and I think it made the sandwich taste all the better.  Otherwise, the sandwich would have been dry and hard to eat.

I was definitely satisfied with the crawfish po boy, but was just a little disappointed with the serving size of the tartar sauce that came with it.  With that much craw, I wished that there was just a little bit more sauce to go with it.  I think the next time I try po boys, I will be trying the BBQ shrimp or beef.  I hear that’s all the rage in po boy eatery.

Debarge’s

Since I had the po boy at lunch, I decided I must get the pound of crawfish for dinner, especially after a few texts back and forth with my foodie sister.  She sent me a picture of the type of craw dish she wanted and you bet I found just the place to get it (after all, it’s in the little sister job description to make their older siblings’ lives miserable, yah?).  On my last night in Alexandria, I went to Debarge’s.  Debarge’s is a little Louisiana take out restaurant that serves mostly fried seafood and boiled craw.

Because this was my last night in Louisiana, I figured I should try all that I could.  I ended up ordering: one jalapeno cheddar boudin ball, one pound of boiled crawfish, one boudin sausage, one boiled corn, and a pack of their house sauce for dipping.

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First, the boudin ball.  For those who aren’t familiar, boudin is a type of sausage.  Cajun boudin balls, though, are not encased in the pork casings and is, instead, rolled into a ball and fried.  This one had jalapeno cheddar.  Jalapeno.  Cheddar.  What could be better?  Not a whole lot I tell you.  These boudin balls were good.  Like really good.  Like melting cheese and tiny chunks of jalapeno peppers good.  I think that explains itself well enough.  Now onto the crawfish…

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At only $3.99 a pound, I swore that the crawfish was just going to be plainly boiled.  Boy, was I wrong.  The crawfish was boiled with other spices that were so tasty and potent that you could taste it through the shell in the actual meat.  It was so good, in fact, that I barely even used the house sauce that I bought with it.  And, although it took almost an hour to eat a pound of these babies, it was sure worth sitting in the lobby of having people walk by and exclaim things like, “Ooo, you’re making me jealous!”  With exclamations like that, you knew the crawfish was good!  I was just a little sad when I got to the boudin sausage.  I had spent so much time eating the craw that by the time I got to the sausage, it was cold… as was the corn.  The sausage was still yummy nonetheless and the corn. Oh, the corn.  The corn was so soft and the corn must have been boiled with the crawfish because you could taste the seasonings so well!

By the time I finished my pound of craw (and yes, I ate the whole pound of craw by myself), I was absolutely and positively satisfied with my trip to Louisiana.  My last meal there was just the cherry on top of an amazing visit.  I’d say the only thing that disappoints me right now is that I live sooooo far from Louisiana, or anywhere I can get good crawfish for that matter, and I’m probably not going to make another trip down soon.

Until then, I’ve enjoyed eating those little suckers and I sure as heck will miss that Cajun kick!

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Restaurants Visited:

Cajun Landing
2728 N MacArthur Dr
Alexandria, LA 71303
(318) 487-4912

Sentry Grill
1002 3rd St
Alexandria, Louisiana 71301
(318) 445-0952

Robbie G’s
5859 Jackson St Exd
Alexandria, LA 71303
(318) 443-8621

Debarge’s
1807 Andrews St
Alexandria, LA 71301
(318) 445-6745

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Lunch Time Quickie: Hong Meas in East Providence, RI

Here’s a lunch time quickie!

I usually post about different restaurants in Providence but, considering I’m working the East Providence/Seekonk area, I figured I should try to expand outward.

I love to east Asian food and apart from Four Seasons on Reservoir Ave in Providence, RI, I haven’t been able to find the same type of restaurant that serves a multitude of foods ranging from Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, and Lao foods.  After doing a quick Urbanspoon search for a restaurant of the same type in the East Providence, RI, I stumbled upon the hole-in-the-wall Hong Meas.

On my lunch break, I picked up to-go food from Hong Meas — Vietnamese Bee Bong with Beef and a small Hot & Sour soup.  Upon walking in, I noticed an interesting smell.  It reminded me of a farm almost… I felt conflicted on the inside.  Unsure if this meant that the ingredients they used were just really fresh or otherwise… I had plenty of fresh fresh meats before and the food was awesome so I figured I would give the place the benefit of the doubt.

I tried the Hot & Sour soup first and I’ll have you know I love Hot & Sour soup!  This soup had a weird aftertaste though.  It tasted a little too sour — like it had too much vinegar — and just had a weird taste overall.  I was not the biggest fan of the soup so I had to add a great amount of black pepper in an attempt to neutralize the sour taste.

When I opened the Bee Bong, I noticed that there were SO MANY NOODLES.  The noodles were okay. The texture was a little soggy (I think they were a little overcooked) but the sauce was good!  What got me was the beef.  For some reason I just got a bad taste in my mouth.  I’m not sure if it was just cooked differently from what I was used to, but it looked fine.  It just didn’t taste great.  I felt like I might have eaten something that was just slaughtered, though not in the fresh sense…  Needless to say, I was unable to finish my Bee Bong.

Overall, I was surprised that my experience was not great as I had expected.  I glimpsed over the Urbanspoon reviews and saw that the Projo reviewed it too.  Little did I realize that the review was from 2009 or 2010 (I can’t remember off the top of my head).  I don’t know if it’s just been a while since the better reviews were written and the restaurant might have gone “down” since, or if I just happened to go on a bad day.

I mean to give Hong Meas another chance and give them the benefit of the doubt that I just went on a bad day, but I don’t think I’ll make that visit for a while at least.

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I’m back!

Alas! I’ve returned to the blogosphere after a hectic last semester of college and, of course, my college graduation!

For starters, here is a picture of the dish I had last night with my sister at Bacaro in Providence, RI.  I veered away from my typical Pasta Con I Funghi dish and ordered a specials dish which was a soft shell crab over fettuccine in a red pasta sauce.  I’m not usually a red pasta sauce type of girl, but this one was great!  It wasn’t so tomato saucy as I had expected — it was a little lemon-tangy and tasted like their normal Linguine dish!  I’m just ashamed I couldn’t finish the dish in one sitting and, of course, accidentally left my leftovers on the table….  Still a great dish and return to Bacaro though!

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With school out of the way now (for now), I’ll definitely have more time to post more.

I’m also proud to announce that my boyfriend made the move from New York to Boston so, considering the close proximity of Boston and Providence, you can expect me to post about restaurants and trips in the Boston area too!  And, considering I’ll probably be traveling around the US a lot more frequently, you bet I’ll be including trips from around the nation too!

:)

For more information about the restaurant Bacaro that I visited, check out my past entry on a previous visit to the restaurant!

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Asian Restaurants: Thai Star

Who loves Thai food? Hardly anybody hates it! Of all Asian foods, Thai food is probably one of my favorites (if not my favorite!). Thai cuisine is known for their spices and plethora of flavors used in the cooking. AND IT ALL TASTES SO AMAZING. I promise I’m not being biased. Promise.

While there are many Asian restaurants in Providence, RI, Thai Star has got to be one of my favorites to go to for Thai food. It’s especially quick, cheap, and super authentic. Thai Star doesn’t really sweeten up their food for American taste buds, but that’s okay! Everyone loves it still! Plus, the owner is awesome. She’s super friendly and I don’t think I know anyone who’s been there and hasn’t said anything nice about her!

Order Recommendations

While you’re there, check out their Angel Wings. They’re simply fried chicken wings served with a sweet sauce, but their perfectly crisp and not heavily floured so that they’re so cakey. If you’re a fan of crab rangoon, I’ll have you know they’re also awesome here. For entries, I do recommend getting a noodle dish. My favorites are the classic pad thai, pad see ew, and spicy vegetable noodles. My boyfriend’s favorite is the crunchy pad thai, so if you want a little crunch, it’s definitely worth trying! Not a huge fan of noodles in general? PLEASE try the chicken in the garden. Chicken in the graden is a spicy chicken dish made of ground chicken and an assortment of vegetables, tossed in a spicy sauce that mixes ever so greatly with white rice.

Eat in at Thai Star or pick-up! Dishes usually range between $9-$15 and is relatively cheap with great portion sizes.

Thai Star is located at 1088 Chalkstone Ave in Providence, RI and is not too far from Rhode Island College and Providence College. Check out their website here for more information!

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