Monthly Archives: August 2014

Food Review: Okonomi Sushi Restaurant (Surrey)

(Originally posted on Let’s Eat Out Once a Week.)

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BBQ Galbigrilled BBQ Rib in Korean soy sauce

On Wednesday night, I was going to meet with a buddy but he cancelled last minute, so I decided to check out Okonomi Sushi, a Japanese-Korean restaurant located in Surrey. (I told my other friend, a Korean-American dude and fellow writer named Leonard, that I would eat some Korean dishes on this night to celebrate the fact that we had just finished editing his new book, as a way to honour him. 😛 So, even if my buddy had not cancelled, I would have suggested Okonomi Sushi.)

Actually, this particular restaurant has two locations in New Westminster (the “Downtown” and “Uptown” Branches), but I figured I would check out the Surrey one since it was right by Gateway SkyTrain Station. In fact, this Surrey Gateway Branch is conveniently located across the street from Gateway Station Tower.

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When I came in, there were no other diners so it was perfect timing on my part. (It was just before 5:00 p.m., so some people probably hadn’t gotten off work yet or were “enjoying” their commute home.) The young Korean guy behind the counter was very friendly and pleasant; he brought me a menu and a glass of water very promptly. (Since the staff spoke to each other in Korean, I assume this restaurant is Korean-owned and operated.) The service was simply excellent, and I didn’t have to wait long before the food arrived. During the course of my meal, he asked me a couple of times how the food was and also brought me refills for my water without me asking. Even when I was about to leave, the other staff – there were two in the kitchen – all cheerfully said “thank you, goodbye.” A warm, friendly group indeed.

Anyway, I ordered the Spicy Chicken Karaage and the BBQ Galbi. They actually offered non-spicy Chicken Karaage as well as the spicy one for a dollar extra, and I chose the latter just to see how hot it would be. As it turned out, it was really spicy (for me anyway)! However, I would have to say that it was delicious. It had more flavour than some of the chicken karaage – which is Japanese-style boneless deep fried chicken marinated in a special sauce – that I’ve tasted at certain Japanese All-You-Can-Eat restaurants.

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Spicy Chicken Karaage

The BBQ Galbi, meanwhile, is a Korean-style grilled BBQ beef rib dish, served with Miso Soup and “pink rice.” According to the sandwich board outside the restaurant, posters on the walls inside, as well as right on each page of their menu, their pink sushi rice is healthy and nutritious, something they are very proud of – and apparently, very rarely served elsewhere.

The rice tasted fine, and the ribs were juicy because of the special Korean soy sauce they used. I did find the ribs to be a tad hard, though. Still, they were simply delicious.

As mentioned, when I entered the restaurant, there were no other diners. A Caucasian fellow, and then a small Korean family, came in after my food arrived. Looking around the restaurant, it seemed there are around 10 tables, so you can imagine it gets lively later in the evenings when more people come in during dinner time. Not that I know for sure, but I would guess this place does get busy. After all, they have specials every day until 10:00 p.m., where selected items are 30% off, so I can totally see people that live in the area going there:

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Items: Spicy Chicken Karaage and BBQ Galbi
Purchased at: Okonomi Sushi Restaurant (Surrey Gateway location), 13448 108 Avenue, Surrey, BC
Prices: Spicy Chicken Karaage C$5.95; BBQ Galbi C$12.95, plus tax
Final Thoughts: I received great service during my visit from the friendly staff. It is a nice, cozy place to have lunch/dinner if you work near Gateway Station Tower or live in the area. Highly recommended. They also have two other locations in New Westminster.

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Food Review: Stonegrill @ the MET (Burnaby)

(Originally posted on Let’s Eat Out Once a Week.)
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Lobster Chipotle Cheddar Panini (with Waffle Fries)

This food blog is supposed to be “Let’s Eat Out Once a Week,” not “Eat Out Daily,” but I have to admit I’ve been dining out fairly regularly recently. Perhaps it’s the good weather that makes me want to go out! Or, could be too that there are just so many different places to try out! Maybe I should have at least called this blog “Eat Out Twice a Week” instead!

On Tuesday afternoon, my friend K and I decided to have lunch at Stonegrill @ the MET, which is conveniently located below the food court at Metrotown in Burnaby.

Instead of having the same old burgers, I wanted to try something different, so I settled on the Lobster Chipotle Cheddar Panini. I’d never had it before.

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It came with lobster chunks, tomato, lettuce, and cheddar. Instead of salad, I decided to go with Waffle Fries. Being the copycat that my friend K was, he went with the exact same thing.

Stonegrill was actually very busy on Tuesday afternoon, and so it took awhile before the food came. During the lengthy wait, K – who’s a big soccer fan – was at least able to catch most of the second half of the Real Madrid-Sevilla FC match on their TV monitor. Since I’m not a soccer fan, I focused on the monitor on the other side of the bar/counter and was intrigued to see a message come up on the ticker of that particular news station stating that Canadians are spending more money on taxes than on personal necessities!

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Eventually, our food came, and I thought the taste of the panini was all right. The lobster meat was tender, and tasted good. Since I don’t usually eat panini – hence my wanting to try it because my goal was to try something different – I guess I can say I’m not a fan of it. Obviously it’s not my first choice normally, but still the taste was all right.

I thought that the amount of waffle fries, meanwhile, was way too generous – but I should say that I’m not a big eater to begin with. I couldn’t finish them, so needless to say I was full before I was done. They were crunchy, so they were pretty good. Just too much for me.

Though the server didn’t bring our bill promptly and also the food was slow to arrive, she at least brought refills for us and checked in with us once. It was busy during lunch time, so I didn’t think it was too, too bad. (My friend K disagreed with me.)

This was the third time that I’d been to Stonegrill @ the MET, and so far I don’t have any complaints. It’s conveniently located in Metrotown Mall where you can stop in and grab a bite after/before doing some shopping.

No complaints whatsoever. I’ll have to disagree with what my friend K thinks. Anyway, his opinions aren’t that important – not for the purposes of this blog. 😛

Item: Lobster Chipotle Cheddar Panini
Purchased at: 4820 Kingsway #259, Burnaby, BC (inside Metrotown Mall)
Price: C$13.00, plus tax
Final Thoughts: Slow service, but if you are not in a rush, you get to enjoy a ballgame on their monitor during your meal. Overall, I was satisfied with this particular visit.

Food Review: Spicy Buffalo Chicken Poutine (McDonald’s)

(Originally posted on Let’s Eat Out Once a Week.)

Decided to stop by McDonald’s on the way home from work last week, and I saw on their digital menu board that they have this new Spicy Buffalo Chicken Poutine. Being a poutine lover – okay, I know, this is only McDonald’s, but still – I figured I’d give it a try.

But oh man, what I received was not what I expected – at all.photo (1)

As you can see from the photo that I took, all the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Poutine contained were:
(1) a piece of chicken strip on top with
(2) some hot sauce and
(3) green onions, and
(4) McDonald’s regular poutine at the bottom, with its standard gravy, curds, and fries.

I guess I had higher expectations, but then again, this is just McDonald’s, so at the end of the day you can’t really expect too much.

As for the taste, it was exactly what you see in the picture. Since the chicken strip was not even cut into smaller pieces, I just ate it first before attacking the base.

The hot sauce honestly tasted like Frank’s RedHot Sauce, or at least something similar to it. The green onions were just what you would expect. A nice touch to include them, but they were just green onions.

After that, it’s just the regular McDonald’s poutine at the bottom, which sometimes has been served cold (and I eat right there moments after it’s ready). This time, though, they had least had the decency to make the poutine warm. (And it wasn’t the hot sauce talking; this time around the temperature of the poutine was just fine).

Normally, for a regular McDonald’s poutine, the cheese curds are huge, and given the fact that the temperature isn’t even right, those curds don’t melt into the fries. With the Spicy Buffalo Chicken Poutine that I got this time, I didn’t feel like there were enough curds provided. So, it really felt like just fries after the chicken was gone.

Overall, the product didn’t look good, and the taste was fairly mediocre. If we’re talking poutine served at fast food chains, I’ll go with Triple O’s any day of the week.

Item: McDonald’s Spicy Buffalo Chicken Poutine
Purchased at: McDonald’s location at Grandview Highway and Renfrew (Vancouver, British Columbia)
Price:
C$4.99 plus tax (Add a fountain drink – which was $1 thanks to McDonald’s summer promotion – as well as tax, and the total came to $6.29. If you were getting this poutine as part of a meal, then an extra $2.50 to upgrade from the fries, so let’s say you got it as part of the Angus meal, then the total would be $11.75.)
Final Thoughts: The product looked really messy, especially with the chicken strip not even cut placed on top of the poutine. It honestly felt to me like they just slabbed everything together without much thought. Oh wait…it is McDonald’s after all; fast food, as they call it.

UPDATE: Since every McDonald’s receipt encourages you to fill out an online survey in order to receive a coupon in exchange for your feedback, I decided to take up on the offer. In the comments section of the survey, I mentioned how I felt about the poutine, and when prompted, I indicated that I would be interested in hearing back from that particular McDonald’s location.

I received a response the following day, which I will share below:

McD responseI don’t think I will take up on the offer (since I have already gotten a coupon through the actual survey), but I have since then replied back with the photo of what I was served in let them know what exactly I had gotten.