Sunday, February 26, 2012

Convoy Conquest Awards Season! - West Side

We are now done with Convoy's West Side! Since it's Awards Season, we thought it would be a perfect time to recognize the best (and worst) restaurants on Convoy!

THE BEST OF THE WEST: WA DINING OKAN
Why?  Okan has countless outstanding dishes and pays careful attention to detail.  The interior is cozy and their staff is very pleasant.  We feel that Okan has a vision that they are striving to achieve, whereas most restaurants just make food.  (By the way, our affection for Okan does not extend to their lunch menu -- go for dinner!)
Why?  They have charming service (adorable old men!), and their dim sum dishes are yummy.
Nominees: A Cafe, Spicy House

Best Japanese: Wa Dining Okan
Why?  For all the reasons it won Best Restaurant.
Nominees: Izakaya Sakura, Sushi Dokoro Shirahama, Yakitori Yakyudori

Best Korean:
Jeong Won
Why? Jeong Won is such a fun place to eat.  A buffet barbecue where you can decide how much or how little to take of so many kinds of meat, fish, vegetables, and more!  They also have incredible rice and surprisingly good soft-serve.
Nominees: No contenders against Jeong Won, which is the clear winner.  Besides, most of the non-BBQ Korean places are on the east side.  We shall see!

Best Thai: Chilies Thai Gourmet
Why?  There was only one other Thai place so far.  But Chilies Thai Gourmet does have the most charming chef who won our hearts.  And truly delicious coconut ice cream.

Best Non-Asian:
Parsian
Why?  Parsian was such a pleasant place to eat.  Lots of natural light, and a little fountain outside.  Their food was perfectly seasoned, and the ice cream sandwich was so good!  (We speak in past tense because Parsian has moved and is no longer a Convoy restaurant.  Sniffle.)
Nominees:
Crab Hut

Best Dessert:
Sage French Cake
Why?  These cakes are scrumptious.  The fruit tart is like nothing we've had before.
Nominees:
Big Joy Family Bakery

Best Date: Crab Hut
Why?  It's so fun and interactive!  Great for a date with someone you really like and get along with.  But if you're going on a fancier, more romantic date with someone you barely know, go with Koon Thai Kitchen, which has low lighting, attractive d├ęcor , and a generic menu that's not too intimidating.
Nominees: Koon Thai Kitchen

Best Service:
Yokohama Yakitori Koubou
Why?  The staff at Yokohama Yakitori Koubou look genuinely happy to see us.  (A quality that is utterly lacking in, say, Yakitori Yakyudori's servers.)  We are also charmed by how they give us a milk shot before drinking alcohol, and green tea to end the meal.
Nominees: China Max, The Original Pancake House, Wa Dining Okan

Hottest Staff:
Sage French Cake
Why?  The Handsome Pastry Chef.  So stern and reserved, and he takes genuine pride in his work -- rather Mr. Darcyesque.  His rolled up sleeves!  The way he expertly pours melted chocolate!  How he smiled when we exclaimed over our gorgeous Valentine's Day tart! Dreamy sigh.
Why?  The sweet smell of fresh-baked goodness envelops you as you walk in the door.  The classical music is quiet and soothing.  It's neat, yet cozy, and you get the feeling that you're being taken good care of.  It's like heaven.
Nominees: Parsian

Best for Kids:
Phuong Trang
Why?  There's a long menu, so you can probably find something that a picky kid will eat.  They have big tables for large families.  It's a huge place and on the louder side, so you don't have to worry so much about children being on their best behavior -- a little noise isn't going to disrupt your neighbors. Plus, the food is pretty delicious.  
Nominees: A Cafe, Sage French Cake (but take-home only)

WEST SIDE'S WORST: TSURUHASHI
Why?  You know what's more annoying than something that's outright bad?  Something that's just mediocre that gets a lot of hype.  Tsuruhashi has 4 stars on Yelp and was recommended by friends, but it just proved to be disappointing and expensive, especially compared to Korean barbecue places on Convoy.
Nominees: Sunrise Buffet

Worst Service:
Shabu World
Why?  There is such a thing as too much service.  We were the only ones there, and the staff kept hovering over us, asking us the same question multiple times.  We need a chance to relax and talk to each other without servers listening in!  
 
Most Confusing: Manna Bakery
Why?  We are still terribly puzzled by our experience at Manna Bakery...  Seriously, what?

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sunrise Buffet

Some of our guest critics mid-meal.
The orange soda got rave reviews.


Jenne's first round...


Some other people's...


The egg drop soup was popular.

The orange chicken was extremely weird.

Broccoli and...jello?


Dessert was far and away the best part, especially the doughnuts!

Kate said she got a little overexcited with the sprinkles.

Thumbs up on the jello, thumbs down on the chocolate pudding.

Really, Miko?  That is disgusting.

The whole gang!
Halfway Celebration!
Sunrise Buffet is the last stop on Convoy's West Side! We invited lots of friends to celebrate with us! (Too bad it was kind of gross, but hey, still fun!)

Rating: 7 thumbs down, 5 sideways thumbs, 1 thumb up
Date: 2/4/12
Time in: 7:40 PM (Jenne and I were late)
What we ordered: Buffet, tea, Cokes, Diet Cokes, orange sodas.
Number in our party: 13 (Carling, Ryan, Sarah H., Sarah M., Tracie, Elise, Keith, Laura, Gerry, Nick, and Kate as guest critics today)
Final check amount: $15.07 each for the buffet and a soda
Notes: 
  • Carling -- Likes: crab puffs.  (Thumb down.) 
  • Elise -- Likes: crispy chicken, Brazilian beef.  Dislikes: anything with scallop or shrimp.  (Sideways bordering on down.)
  • Gerry -- Likes: jello. Dislikes: everything else.  (Thumb down.)
  • Jenne -- Likes: egg drop soup, fried fish, seafood delight.  Dislikes: orange chicken and stuffed shrimp.   (Thumb down.) 
  • Kate -- Likes: crispy chicken.  Dislikes: spring rolls.  (Thumb down.)
  • Keith -- Likes: fried chicken, crab puff, crispy chicken.  (Thumb up.)
  • Laura -- Likes: frog legs, boneless spare rib, salmon.  Dislikes: lots of overly salty dishes.  (Sideways bordering on down.)
  • Miko -- Likes: crab puffs, doughnuts, mei fun.  Dislikes: pork bun, orange chicken, crispy chicken, chocolate pudding (it was sour!).  (Thumb down.) 
  • Nick -- Likes: coconut shrimp, doughnut.  Dislikes: orange chicken.  (Thumb down.)
  • Ryan -- Likes: shrimp on ice, fruit, broccoli.  (Sideways thumb.) 
  • Sarah H. -- Likes: crispy chicken, sushi, mussels, oysters.  Dislikes: seaweed salad, stuffed shrimp.  (Sideways thumb.)
  • Sarah M. -- Likes: anything fried (crab puffs, egg rolls), dumplings, fish.  Dislikes: orange chicken, green beans.  (Sideways thumb.)
  • Tracie -- Likes: hoisin clams "but I might regret these later."  Dislikes: pork bun.  (Thumb down.) 
RESTAURANT INFORMATION
Address: 3860 Convoy Street
Phone number:
858.715.1608
Website: http://sunrisebuffet.menutoeat.com/
Accepts credit cards? Yes
Parking: Crowded lot with teeny spaces.
Ideal group size: Any 
Available vegetarian options: Salad, doughnuts, soft-serve
Noise level: 3