Sunday, June 29, 2008


This restaurant took over for the Federalist in XV Beacon, a small boutique hotel in Boston. As the name suggests, it's a steakhouse, trying to compete with Abe & Louie's, Smith & Wolinski's, Capital Grille, etc. However, I must say it's just not the same caliber as any of the restaurants mentioned above.

The service, is well, just not up to par. The hostess seemed slightly out of it. I'm not even sure they sat us at the right table. Our waiter was ok, but he lacked any personality. This is supposed to be a high quality restaurant - you should have high quality staff.

The food - mixed reviews to be honest. A coworker had the Kobe Beef Dumplings which he was pleased with. I started with the Lobster Bisque which made me sick (aka - don't get this). The steak was average. Both desserts (strawberry shortcake and key lime alaskan) received good reviews.

Overall, for the price and the type of food - go elsewhere. This restaurant simply is nothing special and you can get far better service (and probably steak) at another restaurant.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Scooper Bowl!

Many of you know how much I love ice cream. For a long time, I thought I should have a career in the ice cream business. No joke, no matter how much time I spend around it, scooping it, eating it - I always want more. So it was a great treat when I got to take a little bit of time out of work the other day and attend the Scooper Bowl. The Scooper Bowl is a fund raising event for the Jimmy Fund in Government Center. You pay $8 and get to eat all the ice cream you can! Next year, I need to remember to not eat lunch first! Anyways, here's a run down of what I had:

Ben & Jerry's - Cake Batter - As the name indicates, this tasted exactly like yellow cake batter. I must admit it wasn't one of my favorites, but the flavor was definitely spot on.

Breyers - Cookies & Cream - A classic, you just can't go wrong with this.

Cold Stone Creamery - Chocolate Devotion - Wow, intense chocolate. Fantastic!

Haagen-Dazs - Raspberry Sorbet - Definitely refreshing on this intensely hot day. I think I might actually buy this in a store.

Doriti Gelati - Lemon Sorbetto - Hands down the best ice cream I tried. Unbelievable - in fact, my aunt went the day after me, and commented on exactly the same ice cream without any prompting. (As a side note, their mango gelato, not so hot).

I'm sure I missed a few that I tried, but what a great event. I love summer and all the ice cream that comes with it!!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Parting Thoughts - Sayonara!

This is it - my last few hours in Tokyo/Japan - potentially for a very long time. Luckily, I got to end the trip with one last trip to the Taco truck (phew). Some parting thoughts of things I hope I semi remember:

  • Yesterday it rained, but the best part about Tokyo is you can walk potentially miles underground. When they built their new subway system, they did a fantastic job of linking subway stops - there's basically another city underground.
  • Taxi - While taxis are wicked expensive (starting at $7 for 2km), the taxi drivers are super honest. On my way out today, my taxi driver got a little lost - no big deal for me, he didn't do it on purpose. I go to pay when we get out and he says to me 500 yen. How fantastic! I mean I was more than willing to pay the full fare, but the honesty is refreshing.
  • Lawsons - This convenience store (along with maybe AM PM) have really pulled through in some key moments. I can only hope convenience stores in the US can become something like Lawsons one day.
  • "Squishy" ground - I'm not sure how/why this happens, but some of the sidewalks in Tokyo are squishy and it makes me really happy.
  • Ginza at 8am - This area is so packed all the time (especially on Sat & Sun) that it's amazing to see it when there's no one around. Shop owners are outside washing their sidewalks (yes, they wash their sidewalks actually scrub every morning) and despite the fact this makes the sidewalks slippery - it just contributes to the "clean" feeling of Japan.
  • The packaging - Things are bagged and packed here so well. Every store, every purchase is bagged (and sometimes wrapped) with intense care.
  • Food wrappers - there is one and only one way to open food wrappers here (chocolate, chips, etc). Everything has a nice tear here arrow and seriously that is the only place you can tear the packaging. Took a bit of getting used to, but it's grown on me now.
  • Admirals Lounge at Narita - The beer machine, the free internet, free alcohol, free food.. and the general sense of overwhelming relief when I sit down here.
Now, onto the US!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Back in Japan!

So I've just returned to Japan after a two week hiatus in the US. Now, this time I'm only here for a week, which is frightfully short compared to all of my other trips. Every time I return, I'm still amazed at how familiar I have become with Tokyo. Sadly, I think this is the longest I've really spent in one place since I graduated from college. This trip I'm particularly reminded of the things I enjoy about Japan:

  • The weather - while this isn't always true, the weather so far has been absolutely amazing. Cool and crisp in the morning and night, warming up during the day.
  • The fake flushing the toilet sound - this annoys some people, but I've gotten used to it. When you go the bathroom in Japan, you push a button which plays a flushing the toilet sound - helps with the privacy.
  • The cleanliness - everything, everywhere - no trash.

On the downside, this time I've really noticed some things about Japan that are starting to irk me.
  • The fake politeness - mainly this bothers me in restaurants these days. Don't pretend you are full when there are empty tables. Really just no need.
  • People walk into you - I don't know what it is but I've started just plowing through people. No one moves over. I know for women walking in heels all the time is hard work, but please just move one step to the left so I can pass you or if you are walking two or three abreast towards me just make some room.
Lastly, I went to Rigoletto Kitchen tonight. A sister restaurant to Dazzle (which I've eaten at twice). I think I enjoyed Rigoletto Kitchen more than Dazzle, perhaps because it's more down to earth or maybe because I was just so hungry by the time I got there, it had an english menu, and the waiter spoke perfect english. Either way, I would recommend it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008


Last night, we tried a New Zealand wine bar, whose original branch is in Shibuya. Both the Shibuya and Ginza restaurants had received great reviews, so I was very excited. Luckily, the restaurant met my expectations. Check out our dinner:

  • Amuse bouche - Cheese with honey - Very good.
  • Appetizer - Assortment - There was so many different things on this plate it's going to be hard to remember them all. Let's see... beans with minced meat, salad with chicken patte, fried fish with tartar sauce, grilled vegetables, and chicken - a nice wide variety. I thought everything was good minus the chicken patte.
  • Pasta - I really liked the pasta (minus the fact it was spaghetti). It had an oil based sauce with capers.
  • Fish - A piece of white fish with salad. The white fish was good, considering I'm not a huge fan of white fish.
  • Meat - The sauce on the steak was great. There was something else with the steak but it's slipping my mind right now...
  • Dessert - Hmm... this was awesome. Strawberries, whip cream, stuffed inside a pastry. Nice way to end the meal :)
  • Wines!! - I thought they had a fantastic wine list. Very extensive. We chose to order wine by the glass so we could sample a wide variety. They have four different reds by the glass. However, once one bottle is through, they open something completely different which I enjoyed as it expanded my choices!
If I had more time here in Tokyo, I would definitely go back. I really enjoyed both my meal and the wine! Oh and as an extra added bonus, they are open late - until 1am!!

Arossa - Velvia-kan 8F - Ginza 2-4-6

Oregon Bar and Grill

I'm not going to lie - this restaurant was not my favorite one here in Tokyo. In fact, I would probably categorize it in my "least" favorite category. Now, I have been to a fair amount of steakhouses both in the US and in Tokyo and for the most part they are all comparable. So, I assumed that despite the somewhat negative reviews, the Oregon Bar and Grill would still be comparable. Well, I was wrong. On the plus side, OB&G is on the 42nd floor in the Shiodome area so the view is good. They have a nice lounge area where you can come and get drinks, I think that would be the way to go. I sat in the bar area which left much to be desired. The tables and chairs looked cheap, and the service was eh at best. The actual bar itself has stools, but they look so uncomfortable that no one was sitting there. I started with Manhattan Clam Chowder as an appetizer. It was ok, serving size was a bit small but that's normal in Japan. This was followed by a sirloin steak with a small helping of mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes weren't bad but the steak was just eh. I had read a lot about the wide variety of choices of Oregon wines by the glass, carafe, and bottle. When I received the wine list, the choices I expected were not there. Lastly, I had to ask numerous times for service - specifically for another glass of wine. This is just weird in a restaurant of this caliber. In short, I would not recommend this restaurant at all - Beacon has far better quality food, service, and prices.

Oregon Bar and Grill - Shiodome City Center 42F - 11-5-2 Higashi-Shinbashi

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Lengua de Gaudi

This a fantastic Spanish restaurant in Ginza. One of the best restaurants I have been to in the past couple of weeks. They serve primarily tapas, but the restaurant/bar has a fantastic atmosphere. Very laid back, very comfortable. They have an english menu (always a bonus) and some of the staff also speak perfect english. Here's a look at my meal:

  • Sangria - Certainly not the best, but standard for Tokyo (which unfortunately doesn't say much)
  • Shrimp in Garlic Oil - The shrimp were good, and dipping bread in the garlic oil was great! More bread please!
  • Potatoes - These were standard fried potatoes with a sauce that had a bit of a kick to it. Pretty good.
  • Gnocchi in a Blue Cheese Sauce - By far the best plate. The gnocchi came in this great blue cheese sauce with spinach and mushrooms. It was simply delightful. I pondered going back for dinner again tonight...
Overall, a good meal. Definitely would go back if I was going to be in town longer... hmm, maybe this weekend :)

Stay tuned for my not so rave review of the Oregon Bar and Grill.

Lengua de Gaudi - Ginza 5-9-5 - 5-11pm