Posts Tagged ‘ restaurantreview ’

Restraunt Review: Five Guys Burgers and Fries

So, from several different sources now, I have heard about the supposed marvel that is Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Friends at work have told me that I’ve got to try it, and whenever I drive by one with someone in the car, they always seem to do the “ooh, five guys”. Well, I recently managed to go their with some friends, and try the place out.

Walking in, I was greeted by a bustling restaurant that reminded me of a cross between a Burger King, and  a county fair food stand. Still there were free peanuts offered in line while you waited to order, so I couldn’t complain too much. Walking up, I made my order of a bacon cheeseburger with BBQ sauce, and onions, and an order of regular fries. So, this ran me about $10, so I was a little put off to start because I didn’t even order a drink, and I was tipping what I like to spend on a fast food lunch.

Well, the turnaround on the meal was slightly longer than your average fast food place, but better then a sit down.  I got my order, and we retreated to an open table outside. The first thing I noticed was the fries. They really were delicious, and they weren’t skimpy with them either.  A regular order could have easily been split between two people to help with the cost. They were delicious too, done in the style of skin on fresh fries. Definitely one of my favorite incarnations of potato.

Moving on to the burger. It was a sloppy griddle double pattied burger. It tasted decent, but was at the same time, nothing special. It fell in between a fast food offering, and a chain restaurant. Not bad, but for what I payed, I was a little disappointed. About half way into the burger I realized something was wrong, something was missing. Where was my bacon!? I looked on the receipt, and yup, there it was. Looking back at my burger, it was clear it was forgotten. I was bummed. It had cost extra, but it was too late, and too busy for me to try and remedy the situation. Still, I finished the burger, and was satisfied.

So, overall, I’m not a big fan of five guys. If I want a burger, I’d rather have a real burger. I usually order things like  Tendercrisp at fast food places anyways, reserving my red meat to be eaten in a slightly higher caliber. Still, I wouldn’t turn down some five guys fries if they were offered. That, to me, was the best this place had to offer. So, I give Five Guys Burgers and Fries a “Meh, not too bad”.

Applebees Update: Let There be Nutritional Information

So, I’m pretty sure that everyone has been to a chain restaurant at some point in their lives. I know I’ve been to a few, and some are more of a reliable standby then others. One such, is Applebees. The food and prices there are both good and consistent. Their menu is varied enough that I can usually always find something I want to eat. On top of that, they even have several menus items with Weight Watchers points listed. Now if that isn’t helpful on a diet, I don’t know what is.

Well, as kind as they are about having Weight Watchers menu items, they have usually been less forthcoming with the nutritional information on other items on their menu. One such area that this was particularly annoying with was their “Under 550 Calorie” menu. It’s a great marketing ploy, and nice to have healthier options on a menu, but as any dieter knows, their is a lot more to nutrition then a calorie number. Weight Watchers specifically also looks for fat, and fiber.

Well, what started this whole spiel is that while recently on another site, Eat This Not That, one of the under 550 items was listed as a healthier alternative, and had nutritional information listed. Well, skipping over to Applebees‘ site, low an behold, there was a nutritional information section for all of the menu items. Hooray, no more guess work!

So, as a celebration, here is a nice clean breakdown of the Weight Watchers information for Applebees’ Under 550 Calorie menu:

Food Calories Fat Fiber Points
Asiago Peppercorn Steak 390 14 5 8
Asian Crunch Salad 490 9 7 10
Grilled Dijon Chicken & Portabellos 450 16 6 10
Grilled Shrimp & Island Rice 380 4.5 6 7
Spicy Shrimp Diavalo 500 10 12 10

Restaurant Review: Famous Dave’s

So, in with all of the other festivities of this past weekend, we tried to slip in an early, mini birthday party for my friend Kyle since his is kind of getting swallowed by wedding-zilla this coming weekend. As such, I tried to get creative, and bought him the ingredients to a drink named after his favorite superhero: Green Lantern. We also decided to see where he wanted to go for dinner. To our surprise, the answer was Famous Dave’s.

Now, Kyle and his fiance (no next weekend isn’t their wedding) have raved about Famous Dave’s for some time. Needless to say, with that amount of praise, I thought I was in for a treat. Boy was I wrong.

Famous Dave’s is like the Applebees of BBQ. It’s a chain, so I took my excitement for good BBQ with a grain of salt.  Going in, I ordered a fairly standard combo. I got their chopped pork, and “rib tips” with sides of coleslaw, beans, corn, and a cornbread muffin. Lets tear into this meal, and I don’t mean by eating it.

First up is the chopped pork. This was actually one of the highlights of the meal. It is your standard dry pulled pork that had most likely been smoked, or cooked in the usual way. It came served on top of a thick piece of toast which was a nice twist. What was not so nice was the mountain of BBQ sauce that was dumped on top, completely obscuring any pork flavor that might have been had. If you’re going to go through the trouble of serving a dry-style chopped pork, and offer BBQ sauce on the table, why not let the diner sauce it to their own liking? WHY?

Next up are what Dave’s calls rib tips. These were what I was most excited for going in, and what ended up ruining my meal in the end. They’re described as “tips, slathered with Rich & Sassy® BBQ sauce, fire-grilled, then chopped into tender, bite-sized piece.” Where was that on my plate? What I got were chunked ribs with huge sections of cartilage, and bone to work around for scraps of rib meat that was so coated, and smothered, oh wait, slathered in BBQ sauce that I think I might have had more fun drinking straight BBQ sauce. These were just a bad time. I like meat off the bone, but heaping chunks of nasty cartilage through the entire thing killed it for me. If I pay for meat, I want meat.

Whew, okay moving on from that rant. What was left were the sides. The slaw, and beans were average restaurant fair, leaving the corn and cornbread as the highlights. The corn had a good smoky taste, and the cornbread muffin was sweet and warm. Yes, I’m saying that the best part of a $15 BBQ meal was a muffin and half ear of corn.

So what does all this mean? I don’t care who’s birthday it is, I’m not wasting my time and money at Famous Dave’s again when there’s a much better institution, from what I’ve heard, down the road. Next time I’ll try KC’s Rib Shack.

Take-out Review: House Special Mei Fun

Back in college, I was introduced to a dish from a Chinese restaurant that I probably never would have gotten around to trying on my own: Singapore Rice Noodles.

Now, the first time I tried these, they were a friend’s leftovers on a late night shift at work. They were awesome! The next time I got takeout, I was determined to have them again…and they stunk. I had them three more times at college, and each time they were never as good. In fact, they tasted different each time. Still I wanted something as tasty as those first leftovers.

Fast forward to present day, and to the Jade Garden in Hooksett, NH. I’ve talked about this place before, and since it really has turned into my go-to place for Chinese in the area. Looking at their menu, I felt like trying something other than my standard Sweet and Sour Chicken dinner combination. After scanning the menu, the word Singapore caught my eye under a type of food called “Mei Fun”. With a touch of hope, I Googled Mei Fun to find out that they were the type of rice noodles that I had been looking for!

Now back in college I had found out that Singapore rice noodles were supposed to be spicy, but the leftovers I had tried were special ordered not to be. Seeing other rice noodle dishes under Mei Fun, I decided to try the House Special.

I apologize for the cell phone photography up top, but it was the best I could do at the moment. Still, it does a good job of showing the delicious contents of the dish. The house special has the base of rice noodles cooked in a wok with light oil, but also chicken, pork, shrimp, egg, mushroom, onion, and even some carrot. Even with the oil base, the Mei Fun was a light dish, with all of the flavors cooking together. I feel bad because the picture makes this tasty dish look like some cheap ramen, but it is so much better. If you’re ever in the area, definitely give the Jade Garden, and more specifically, the Mei Fun a try.

Restaurant Review: Hanover St. Subway in Manchester

So, most weekends when I am not off and about in other sections of the state, I end up going to Subway at least once. This isn’t completely my fault, instead I blame my roommate as he considers himself a sort of Subway aficionado. Yeah, he really does…

Still, I can’t complain. Considering this isn’t the only post I’ve ever written about the sub chain, I would be lying to say that I don’t enjoy me a $5 foot-long on occasion. Well, due to the combined proximity to our apartment, and the grocery store, we end up most often at the Subway located at 881 Hanover St. in Manchester, NH.

Now this is not your standard Subway, but is instead a privately owned Subway. The owner is a friendly Indian man who also owns a secondary location in Merrimack, NH across from the post office. We see him in the Hanover Subway almost every weekend, to the point where he recognizes us now.

So, besides the fact that the subs here are consistently good (always fresh, and well made) this Subway keeps some of those menu items that disappear from other Subways that are part of the main chain. For instance, I can go in here, and get one of my favorite subs: the pastrami. Hopefully I don’t need to go into detail about the virtues of Pastrami as they should be well known, but I was devastated when it was struck from the normal menu at Subways.

Thanks to great quality, and knowing what their customers want, I have to give it to the Hanover St. Subway in Manchester as one of my favorites of the chain.

Restuarant Review: Jade Garden of Hooksett, NH

I have one rule about living somewhere: you need to find “that” Chinese restaurant. Everyone has one. It’s your go to place when the craving strikes, and you know they have what you want.

I’ve lived in Manchester now since the end of December 2009, and have been looking for “my” place.

When I first moved in, I tried a local place that had gotten some pretty solid reviews on Yelp.com. It was the Aloha restaurant, and I only felt it to be…so so. The problem I really had is that it did not have dinner specials available on Sunday night. Well this started a trend.

Over the next couple months, I got several menus in the mail for other local places. What did they all have in common? No one serves dinner specials on Sunday nights. Sadly for me, that’s usually when I get the hankering for Chinese. Well at long last, on a Sunday night, I found myself with a flier for the Jade Garden in Hooksett.

Well, I ended up ordering my standard from there: Sweet and Sour Chicken. Even better, they offer your choice of an additional appetizer. Without a doubt, had to get crab rangoons.

Now to what it actually was like. IT WAS AWESOME. Food was tasty. The service was fast and friendly. The portion size was great. The only interesting bit is that an hour later I was hungry, but that’s generally the rule with Chinese. The best way to describe it was that everything was fresh. That goes a long way in takeout. Besides that, the food was the standard. I’ll have to try some other dishes now that I know the place is “safe” as far as a takeout restaurant goes.