What do you get when you pay $800 for dinner in Toronto at its priciest restaurant? If you answered "about 150 pounds of poutine," you're incorrect. Toronto Star restaurant critic Amy Pataki took her big ol' expense account over to Hashimoto East and got nine courses of high-end Japanese food fit for an empress.
What's not to love about wood? It's warm, sturdy, and looks great on the table if you're into the rustic look. Here are a few neato wooden items for your kitchen, made from sustainably-harvested, reclaimed, and/or scrap bits of trees. READ MORE
Bushido, a new izakaya serving ramen in Mountain View, has a little something extra up its sleeve: house-smoked meats. This gives a distinctive flavor to the shoyu ramen, the best of the noodle offerings, with a lightly smoky broth and shaved smoked pork, says eatzalot. But make sure to ask for the noodles "hard," as they have a tendency to arrive overcooked and mushy otherwise.
Get an order of smoked chicken wings, says Melanie Wong. Expertly done, they have a pungent aroma but a refined, smoky flavor and juicy, succulent flesh. "I only had one wing and that piece might have been the best smoked chicken I've had in the last year (and I've tasted at least 30 examples in this interval)."
The delicious kimchee gyoza is another must, says eatzalot, and don't skip dessert—Bushido has a dedicated dessert chef whose offerings, like a light and refreshing lemon curd parfait, are "neither the pro-forma local Japanese-restaurant mochi balls and green-tea ice cream, nor the common gringo-restaurant Dense Chocolate This and Heavy-Cake That."
Heads-up from BernalKC on a new truck serving supertasty Argentinean barbecue in Emeryville. Primo's Parrilla gets an Argentine's seal of approval for tri-tip and chicken "grilled to perfection," BernalKC says. A plate of either comes with a salad of mixed organic greens, slices of baguette, mashed sweet potatoes with spinach, and chimichurri sauce.
Primo's Parrilla [East Bay]
No formal address; see Twitter feed here
Enssaro, which has been mentioned recently by a few hounds as a new favorite Ethiopian restaurant, "lived up to the hype," says Ruth Lafler after organizing a chowdown there. "When Ethiopian food is done poorly, the flavors get muddy and the dishes tend to taste the same. These dishes were all distinctive and complexly seasoned."
The vegetarian dishes are stellar, Ruth says, especially the gomen (collard greens), which have both sweetness and tang. Atakilt, a medley of slow-cooked vegetables, includes the unusual addition of beets.
Doro wat (chicken stew) was a hit, "an unforgettable, savory dish potent with rich flavor," says Antarctic Widow. Lamb banatu is another favorite, a tender and delicious tomatoey stew with pieces of soft injera bread mixed in. The beef dishes are forgettable, Ruth thinks, although the special kitfo, a kind of spiced steak tartare, has plenty of other fans among the hounds. "Very nice delicate flavors and tender beef," says roster.
Enssaro [East Bay]
366 Grand Avenue, Oakland