Ramen Restaurant65 4th Ave, New York, NY(212) 388-0088$$
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Michael McAfee reviewed a year ago
Food Excellent Decor Very good Service Good - The food at Ippudo exceeded all of my expectations and provided some of the most delicious ramen I've had. Despite being pricey (full disclosure: as a tourist, everything in New York struck me as expensive. However, a base price of $14 for ramen, before any add-ons, is a bit much. But, Ippudo was worth it.), the food was wonderful. Despite a wait, which I'm told is normal for the restaurant at most times, the service was fine and we were not rushed during out meal. I ordered the Akamaru Modern ramen with no add-ons; the $2-4 price per additional item put me off, but the ramen did not leave me wanting. The broth was so savory and the blend of flavors worked perfectly. The miso paste alone was worth the price of admission. Most importantly, I believe I experienced umami at Ippudo. For a sensation that is hard-to-find and fleeting, it abounds at Ippudo. I would love to dine here again the next time I'm in New York.
Thai Restaurant117 Columbia St, New York, NY(718) 923-9322$$
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Michael McAfee reviewed a year ago
Food Excellent Decor Good Service Good - Some of the best Thai I've had. The spicy wings were revelatory and I'm still thinking about them weeks later. The roasted hen with lemongrass was a fine entree, but the wings were still on my mind by the time I finished it. The sticky rice was a disappointment: served in a box and plastic bag, it was difficult to eat and lacking in any kind of flavor. I'd skip it in the future. Pok Pok came highly recommended and I can see why. We went at 9 p.m. on a Sunday while it was raining and got lucky with no wait. However, the food is definitely worth a wait in the future. Con: the restaurant didn't seem to be easily accessible from public transportation. We had to take the subway to Barclays Center and then a bus to the Columbia waterfront. Pok Pok was a bit of a walk from the highway there. After our meal, we took a cab back into downtown Brooklyn, not wanting to attempt the walk after a great dinner.
Oyster Bar Restaurant4743 Ballard Ave NW, Seattle, WA(206) 395-9227$$
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Michael McAfee reviewed 8 months ago
- The Walrus and the Carpenter exceeded all of the expectations and hype associated with the restaurant. We arrived shortly after the restaurant opened and were able to grab a drink at Staple and Fancy next door while waiting for a spot to open at the Walrus. I've heard that the wait can be many hours at peak time and I'm not sure it would be worth waiting two to three hours for a spot to open here unless you can't come back. The food was incredibly fresh - oysters, greens, fish and steak were prepared in front of us and tasted as if they'd been bought that day. The freshness factor here can't be underrated. The marinated kale was a great vegetable - a nice vinegar taste with pine nuts and parmesan, it was at least green. There was ribeye steak on special that evening and it was served cold - I don't encounter this very often, but the meat was so good that the only seasoning it needed was oil and fresh tarragon. The highlight dish was the grilled sardines. The mixture of oil, parsley, shallot and walnuts went so well with freshly charred sardines and was the one dish I'd pay to eat every day. All in all, The Walrus and the Carpenter is one of the best restaurants at which I've had the pleasure of eating. If you're in Seattle, take a cab up to the Ballard neighborhood, put your name down and get ready for life-affirming seafood.
Cajun Restaurant909 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX(512) 474-0805$$
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Michael McAfee reviewed a year ago
Atmosphere Very good Decor Very good Service Good - Shoal Creek Saloon is a place with more hits than misses and I've come out on the positive end of that spectrum. Be sure to check your healthy lifestyle at the door and give in to the rich Cajun flavors. The crawfish étouffée is superb; buttery blond roux and a generous amount of crawfish create the perfect comfort food for a cool fall evening. One of my best friends swears by the green beans and has enjoyed the chicken fried steak and pork chop in the past. Not to be outdone, the wild duck gumbo creates a nice balance between the game flavor and dark roux. However, it can be pricey to eat here and the difference between sitting inside and outside is huge. If you can grab a seat on the back patio, you'll have a wonderful time. If you're inside, and order a marginal dish, you'll wonder why you came to Shoal Creek Saloon. And, unless you're a diehard New Orleans Saints fan, it's a good idea to avoid any meals coinciding with the Saints' game.
Indian Restaurant129 S B St, San Mateo, CA(650) 425-3867$
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Michael McAfee reviewed 11 months ago
Food Excellent Decor Good Service Very good - I still have dreams about Curry Up Now. In fact, the next time I fly into SFO, I'm taking CalTrain to San Mateo to eat here before I head into the city. The concept of an Indian food burrito is amazing - it takes all of the flavors you love and wraps them up neatly. The Weird, where the chef makes your filling choices, is always a lot of fun; I was once surprised with an entire samosa inside of a chicken tikka masala burrito. The thali platter is a great way to sample a lot of menu items at a reasonable price - kadhai, paneer saag, masala, everything. The Sexy Fries are also an awesome option to share with friends. Honestly, I haven't had Curry Up Now in over a year and the flavors are still with me.
Mexican Restaurant2803 S Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX(512) 804-2474$
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Michael McAfee reviewed a year ago
Food Very good Decor Good Service Very good - In a city swimming in Tex-Mex, Papalote offers a full menu of central Mexican food. The rajas, turkey mole and torta pipian are all things that you won't find at more typical chips-and-salsa places. The prices are fair, considering that each taco is very large and completely full. The horchata tasted fresh, which really let the flavors of rice and cinnamon come out (unlike the mix you'll find at a lot of places). Be forewarned: most of the salsas are very spicy (especially the tomatillo-based variety) and will overpower people who don't like a lot of heat.
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