Monday, July 12, 2010

Joy Mart Restaurant, Los Angeles, CA

So during Anime Expo, I was hungry and I decided to join Kchan and Kyosuke in their dinner adventures around Little Tokyo. They wanted to go eat somewhere new that they haven't been to before and I'm down to try these places as well because it's another opportunity to do some taste testing. Joy Mart was an interesting restaurant because they featured a "Tapas" Menu. For people that don't know, Tapas style cuisine is basically small-dish variety cuisine.

Chicken Gyoza

Chicken Meat Dumplings pan fried with Scallions, Ponzu and Sesame Seeds

Judgment: The sauce wasn't exactly what I picture Ponzu sauce normally (it's supposed to be like soy sauce but with a citrus accent to it). It was slightly spicy and I guess it does lend a little bit of flavor to the dumplings. The scallions were fresh chopped and the sesame seeds are what you would expect them to be. Just there to provide a little bit of accent in flavor. The dumplings themselves were pretty boring. It doesn't have much flavor aside from just being a dumpling skin and some ground meat. 6 / 10

Jidori Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken with Hoisin Sauce

Judgment: I've noticed that some of the dishes here were influenced by chinese dishes when this one came out. The flavor is similar to eating Peking duck but it's done with chicken and the sauce is slightly off. The chicken is prepared and cooked properly, nothing undercooked, de-boned correctly with some of the fatty portions of the chicken still intact. 7 / 10


Sauced Chicken Thigh with Okra

Salted Chicken Thigh with Okra

Judgment: The theme I discovered of this restaurant at this point is that everything seems to be under-seasoned. I was disappointed that the salt flavor chicken skewer almost tasted like boiled chicken with no seasoning at all. The Okra was roasted and you can taste the smokey flavor that comes with grilling vegetables but that did not save the chicken at all. The sauced version was a bit more enjoyable because there was actually some taste and flavor to the food finally. However, the sweet flavor was a bit over-bearing so I didn't enjoy it TOO much.

Sauced Version 7 / 10
Salt Version 3 / 10

Conclusion: The restaurant needs a bit more direction. It looks like it was going in so many directions because they have some Thai style dishes, some Chinese, some Japanese, etc. If they had focused on maybe just 1 or 2 styles of food, the quality should be much better but instead, I felt that their menu was spread a bit thin despite having a large variety of dishes. For my 3 tapas dishes I named them "Chicken 3 Ways". Officially they don't have a pre-set tapas menu but you can order each one individually as if you're ordering appetizers.

The restaurant gets a C-Rank

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Fleming's Steakhouse, Los Angeles, CA

While driving to Los Angeles Convention Center during Anime Expo weekend, I managed to spot a Fleming's Steakhouse on the way to my hotel. Coincidentally, I had wanted to try this place after hearing about it a few times. Man, it was difficult to find people to go with me but luckily my drinking buddy Marc was available and down to eat some good steak.

Starter: Bread with Cheese Spreads

Rosemary Italian Baguette with Feta Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato Cheese Spreads

Judgment: The bread was freshly baked and fragrant thanks to all the herbs in it. The crust was slightly crispy and the flesh of the bread itself was elastic but yielding as well. The Feta Cheese spread was my preferred choice as I did not even reach for the Sun-Dried Tomato one after tasting the first one. I finished about half the loaf before I decided I should definitely stop before I ruin my appetite for my steak. 9 / 10

Main Course: Bone-in Ribeye Steak

Bone-in Prime Ribeye Steak

Judgment: The steak was cooked to a perfect Medium Rare like I requested. No arguments with the chef here. It was succulent, flavorful and served on a hot plate. The meat has a excellent aged-beef flavor while the seasoning complimented it very well. 10 / 10

Side Dish: Creamed Spinach

Spinach with Creme and Parmesan Cheeses

Judgment: This side reminded me of the one at Lawry's steakhouse. It was rich and very creamy but due to this fact, it does not compliment every entreƩ. Marc was saying it did not pair well with his filet but it did go well with my Ribeye. I think if I had ordered the Sauteed Spinach instead of the creamed one, it would've paired better for Marc. 9 / 10

Side Dish: Creamed Corn

Creamy Sweet Corn with a light bed of Jalapeno Cheese with Jalapeno garnish

Judgment: This was AMAZING. The corn was sweet and mildly flavored, but when you ate it with the cheese, POW! You definitely get a bit of the heat from the Jalapenos and it really brings out the taste. Marc and I both agreed that this was an excellent choice for side dishes. 10 / 10

Conclusion: Fleming's Steakhouse is an excellent place to have a well prepared steak if you've been to places like Mastro's, Morton's or Lawry's, this is definitely worth a visit as well. The restaurant also features 100 different kinds of wine so they definitely have a selection that should suit your tastes. The parking at LA Live can be kind of pricey but there should be some $5 lots near the location that you can leave your car at.

This restaurant gets an S-Rank.

Class 302, Rowland Heights, CA

Once again I found myself attending class. Class 302 that is. No Mio or Mikan this time so the experience was a bit different. Hung out with a good friend Angela, she's been having a rough time lately and was craving some sweets, so I suggested going to class.

Mango Mochi Shaved Snow

Mango Pieces, Mochi, Condensed Milk, Mango-infused Snow.

Judgment: Again, I love this stuff. Today's was good as well, except I felt the mochi was a little bland this time around. Maybe because last time Mio ate the majority of the mochi, who knows. The snow is light and comes out in sheets rather than chunks of ice like most shaved ice. The Mango pieces were ripe and sweet and the addition of condensed milk gave it a slightly candy taste to it. 9 / 10

Conclusion: Parking is not a big deal if you're willing to park a little further away. It is a nice place to chill and hang out if you just want a simple night out. There were a couple tables of people who were solo-ing the shaved snow so if you wanted to pig out, you can definitely do so.

The restaurant gets an A-rank.