Sunday, July 27, 2014

You can read more at... That is what this blog has morphed into. Go there.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sometimes a restaurant is so bad you have to post about it

Even though I haven't posted here in over a year and am mostly lazy and uninspired to do so, tonight I ate a memorably bad meal. It was at the Home Run Restaurant & Lounge on Airport Way in Renton, described on as a "gastropub." That suggests to me that the place ought to have good food and good beer. I'm a tolerant guy. I can forgive a lot in a place. If they'd had great beer, I could have tolerated mediocre food, especially if I didn't have to wait forever for it to show up. But in this case, there were zero local beers on tap. None. No Manny's, no Mac and Jacks, no Big Al's, no Odin, no Fremont Brewing, nothing. Blue Moon, Bud Light, and Stella Artois were available on tap. I could forgive that if the food were great. Or if the food were mediocre but brought to the table quickly. Well, even though the place was empty, it took 45 minutes plus to get the food. I ordered nachos, not exactly a challenging culinary item. My wife had a Cobb salad, and my dad had fish and chips. We were there to watch the first game of the world series. We arrived just before the game started, and the food came during the fourth inning. The nachos were topped with that liquid nacho cheese topping or velveeta or cheez whiz, or pasteurized processed cheese food liquid. Can you say nasty? Gastropub my ass. This was not the worst meal I've ever eaten. Only the worst meal I've eaten in the last 15 or 20 years. McDonald's is better. And there are so many other places in Renton that have both good food and good beer, ranging from The Red House to the 907 to the Dog N' Pony to A Terrible Beauty to the Whistlestop. Even the Beachcomber in Skyway has Mac and Jacks and Manny's on tap and terrific burgers. I guess this place might stay in business if enough people drink there. But nobody's going to go there for the food.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Paul Bocuse to merge with Rubbatino's

April 1, 2011
Superchef Paul Bocuse, the 85 year old chef from Lyon, France, and one of the world's most famous chefs, has announced that he will be opening his first restaurant in the United States. The location will be in Renton, Washington. Rather than having an entirely new restaurant, Bocuse said that he will be adding to the menu with some innovative touches to the existing Rubbatino's restaurant, the world class dining establishment on Renton's South Third Street.
Bocuse said " We do not wish to detract in any way from Rubbatino's elegant, exceptional cuisine. We will simply be adding some authentic French touches to the menu, such as French fries, and French toast. We see Renton as a new culinary mecca, and are thrilled to be given the opportunity to be here."

Sunday, February 06, 2011

The New "Q" Review

Sam's Pitt II has opened at the corner of NE 4th St and Olympia Ave NE in Renton. It's a takeout only, hole in the wall BBQ joint a few blocks east of Renton Technical College, and directly across from Vince's Coffee.
They'd just had a health department inspection shortly before I arrived, so that had delayed some things from being ready, so the Mac and Cheese wasn't out yet, and the ribs could've used just a little longer in the smoker. But the brisket was absolutely awesome, the chicken was superb, and the collard greens were perfect. Lemon cake is made in house. Up until about a year ago, another BBQ joint existed a couple of blocks east and across the street, Bill's Bodacious. Bill's is gone, along with their odd, almost Asian, sweet BBQ sauce, but Sam's Pitt II fills the bill admirably. They're open 10-9 daily except Monday.

Santa Fe Mexican Grill is open at 1170 Sunset Boulevard NE in Renton, in the former Herfy's location. It's Guadalajara style Mexican food, and it's solid, competent food. Service is friendly, and the guacamole is one of a kind ( and fabulous). The menu is more similar to La Hacienda and Torero's than it is to Habanero's on Rainier. Good, solid, but not exotic. Everything on the menu will seem familiar. Which is fine for most people, but not if you're looking for a brain taco.

And the Lakeside Bistro, 11425 Rainier Ave S, Seattle 98178 ( just past the Renton city limits, across from the north end of Renton airport) has a vegetarian menu in addition to the regular menu. Not just a few tofu dishes, but fauxs. Faux beef, faux chicken, faux halibut, and faux prawns. I had the wok seared faux prawns, and damn if they didn't resemble and taste like the real thing. Not enough so that I thought they made a mistake in the order, but a very reasonable and tasty facsimile. Where else can you get faux halibut and Kansas City style BBQ ribs? The ribs aren't faux. I'd like to see them try. They'd probably come up with something more riblike than McDonald's McRib sandwich, which evidently does contain actual rib meat, though it tastes more like plastic. Maybe I should have taken the wrapper off.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rumors and Innuendos

While none of the following is guaranteed to be accurate, it's based on conversations I've overheard, or stories from people who heard them from other people who heard them from other people, or things I read on the internet, so they must be true.

1. The economy has been brutal to local restaurants. One rumor had a couple of well known local restaurants " on the bubble", either making changes or changing. I couldn't extract specific names, but I figure that Armando's new menu and format didn't come out of nowhere. ( I liked Armando's before the changes they made, but it's much better now.) The Red House is also coming out with a new menu. I'm worried about this one, because the Red House is an awesome, comfortable place, with great food. Politically, I might be more liberal than 99% of the people out there, but when it comes to restaurants, I'm pretty conservative. I like what I like, and I don't like things I really like changing.

2. A brewery/brewpub coming to Renton? That's the rumor. In the former Evergreen City/ McLendon's hardware building on S. 2nd ST. I hope it's true. I like beer.

3. A pizzeria coming to the former Jubilante/ Blossom Bistro space on Burnett?
The rumor has it that one of Renton's best restauranteurs, who formerly dished out some of Renton's finest pizzas, is getting back to his roots and returning to pizza.
I hope it's true. I like pizza.

Monday, November 29, 2010

This and that

Flying Pie Pizza in the Briarwood area of Renton has lost their lease and is out of business. Their Issaquah location remains open. It was pretty good pizza and a pleasant place. And I never got a chance to take them up on their " challenge" of eating an entire extra large multi topping pizza within sixty minutes. No one ever succeeded, despite the promise of free food. I would've done it, I really would. I have those talents.

Lakeside Bistro on Rainier Avenue just across from the Renton airport has a new menu and a new happy hour menu. I just love the place. Mostly because they're quirky and happily embrace that. Too many restaurants are trying to be like other successful restaurants, and what ends up happening is that restaurants look alike and serve the same food as each other. Not Lakeside Bistro. They don't care what's trendy, they serve what's good. Marilyn Monroe on the wall. Old jazz on the stereo. And what a crazy, delightful mix! Sure, they're Vietnamese and serve Pho and lemon grass Chicken and wok seared noodles. But the happy hour menu also has chicken hoagies and fries, burgers and fries, and Kansas City style BBQ ribs.
And the " Moonlight Skewers" seriously rock! There's no place quite like Lakeside Bistro.

Angelo's on NE 4th in Renton Highlands continues to dispense far better than average pizza, pasta, and salads. The place gets crowded, but they run the place so efficiently. It's really a pleasure to go into a place where the owners and staff really know what they're doing.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

And yet one more reason why Renton is cool:

Renton is blessed with some pretty good Mexican restaurants, ranging from stalwarts like La Hacienda to the taco trucks behind McLendons and behind the AMPM on Rainier, to chains like Torero's. We also had a branch of Taqueria Guaymas until fairly recently. But don't cry for me, Tacos Guaymas! In it's former location, at 530 Rainer Ave S. ( same complex as Baskin Robbins, Radio Shack, etc) is Habanero's Taqueria and Grill, and boy howdy! is it good!
First of all, how can you not like a place that features tongue ( lengua) as an entree? Even if you don't like or won't eat tongue, you gotta admit it's a good sign, right?
They've got all the usuals: Tacos, burritos, carne asada, nachos, and fajitas, but they kick it up a notch, and not just in spiciness.
Seafood fajitas are supposed to have shrimp, scallops, clams, and muscles ( that's what the menu says), but in reality, it also has octopus.
Dude! Octopus fajitas! What are you waiting for?
They've got a Facebook page, especially good if you understand Spanish. I understand enough to understand that they now serve beer, a good accompaniment to those chips with salsa ( on the hot side) and perfect guacamole.
530 Rainer Ave S.
Renton 98057