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hot and juicy crawfish (Las Vegas)

Finally got around to trying Hot & Juicy Crawfish last week. We ordered fresh crawfish with sausage, shrimp, and fried catfish with fries.

We choose the standard hot & juicy sauce at medium heat for all of the steamed seafood. It was definitely potent and tasty -- its dominant notes were garlic and hot peppers but it also had some lemony undertones. Sadly, the shells on the shrimp ended up sticking to the meat much more than I’m used to which made them more difficult to peel than the crawfish. Had I known that I probably would have ordered more crawfish instead because the crawfish were very good. The catfish and fries were a nice change of pace from all the steamed food but weren’t anything spectacular. I expected to really like the andouille sausage that was steamed in with the crawfish but it was only ok.

I left Hot & Juicy thinking that the meal had been good and the service had been excellent (the servers are super friendly and cute). I didn’t plan to add Hot & Juicy to my regular Chinatown rotation (Raku, Ichiza, Hue Thai, and several Pho destinations) but I did plan to return.

Then the trouble began.

One thing that nobody warned me about was the lingering hot & juicy superfunk. After you eat at this place you will smell it coming out of your pores and taste it in your mouth for days. Soapy showers do not erase the funk. Toothpaste does not erase the funk. Squeezing lemons all over your hands does not erase the funk. My girlfriend told me that I smelled like a garlic bomb. My friend’s girlfriend did not see him for more than 48 hours after the offending meal and her first words to him were literally “What is that SMELL?!” 48 hours!

I honestly feel like I have to put that out there as a public service announcement – it was really that intense. So go forth and enjoy these delicious crawfish at your own risk, hounds. You’ve been warned.

Jan 26, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Need Vegas Thai, Viet and Good Mexican

I did notice that the sign announcing the challenge had 15 minutes crossed out and 30 minutes written above it. The owner told me that a great many people have attempted this in LA but that only a handful were successful.

Jan 26, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Need Vegas Thai, Viet and Good Mexican

Ok so I went to Pho 87 for lunch today. It was as advertised. The pho broth was excellent. The shrimp and pork summer rolls were made fresh to order and were some of the best I’ve ever had. The carrots and herbs in the roll were crisp and crunchy and cool and the warm shrimp and pork appeared to have char from the grill. That contrast in temp and texture made them really stand out from rolls that have been pre-made and refrigerated. I should also add that the woman who runs the place is really friendly and pleasant. I will be back for sure.

Interesting menu note: Pho 87 offers a 96 oz bowl of pho. The ingredients weigh 6 lbs. If anyone can eat it in 30 minutes, it’s free. Otherwise it costs $24.95.

Jan 26, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Need Vegas Thai, Viet and Good Mexican

I like Pho Saigon 8 myself. I haven’t been to Pho 87 but QAW’s write up sounds promising. I will try to check them out this week.

Jan 26, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Need Vegas Thai, Viet and Good Mexican

I wonder if Pho Kim Long doesn’t get more love than it deserves because of its big billboards on Spring Mtn, its late hours, and its proximity to the strip. On the two occasions I’ve eaten there, I found their marketing to be quite a bit stronger than their cooking.

For me, the most important element in a bowl of pho is the broth. Good pho has a delicate, complex broth in which many subtle flavors are evident. I’ve found the broth at Pho Kim Long to be among the least delicate I’ve ever had. The last time I went, the broth didn’t even taste like pho. It had a dominant salty-sour taste and none of of the delicate cinnamon/anise notes I’d typically expect.

Anyone else have an opinion on PKL? I realize that broth can be inconsistent. Did I catch them on a couple of off nights?

Selfportrait, if you end up going please post a review…

Jan 25, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Las Vegas: Nove Italiano

Completely agree on Nove being better than expected. I wasn’t wild about their grilled octopus or their market fish (I think it was branzino the night I ordered it) but their pasta and steaks have typically delivered.

That said, I’ve found that I actually prefer sitting in the lounge/bar area and grazing from their antipasto menu over drinks. I especially recommend their crudo (which is probably not the most difficult dish to execute, but which is simple and delicious) and their grilled whole artichoke with mustard dressing.

Jan 25, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Pizzeria Bianco – Is Chris Bianco More Hands-Off These Days? (PHX)

I can’t say I disagree with azbirdiemaker’s comments. The wait at the bars surrounding PB is not unpleasant. There are good things to drink at reasonable prices. There are comfortable places to sit. The PB staff is friendly and communicates well. If they had sat us right away, we very well might have wandered over to the bar across the street afterward voluntarily. Having drinks and conversation before or after a pizza is not torture; it’s a great way to spend an evening.

The reason I’m not in a huge hurry to go back to PB is not the wait in and of itself. It’s the fact that I can get equally delicious pizza at other, more convenient places. That said, the PB experience is a fun little adventure that is well worth checking out. I’m glad I went.

Jan 22, 2010
Dhalsim in Phoenix

Need Vegas Thai, Viet and Good Mexican

For Thai I would recommend Lotus of Siam if you want to try some tasty northern Thai dishes that are hard to get elsewhere or Archi’s if you want classics like Pad Thai or a Spicy Basil dish.

For Vietnamese I’d recommend Pho Saigon 8 on Spring Mtn if you want pho, bun, or a rice plate or Hue Thai (also on Spring Mtn) if you want banh mi.

I’m consistently disappointed by the Mexican food out here; maybe other posters have had better luck...

Jan 19, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Pizzeria Bianco – Is Chris Bianco More Hands-Off These Days? (PHX)

To be more precise, we arrived around 6:45 and were seated around 10:30. They told us if we weren’t in Bar Bianco by 10 then we’d lose our place in line. Inside the bar I heard one group complaining that they’d waited for more than 4 hours.

That said, I imagine that this was an unusually busy Saturday night. There were probably 5 or 10 thousand Green Bay Packers fans in town for the football game. Judging from the sea of green around the restaurant, a lot of them wanted to try this famous pizza that they’d seen on TV. I guess they don’t call those guys cheeseheads for nothing.

Jan 18, 2010
Dhalsim in Phoenix

Pizzeria Bianco – Is Chris Bianco More Hands-Off These Days? (PHX)

Was traveling through PHX last weekend and decided to try Pizzeria Bianco for the first time. When we sat down, I was surprised to learn that Chris Bianco was away on vacation. I thought I’d read somewhere that he’s a little fanatical about overseeing all of the pizza making himself. Not sure if Chris has always taken vacations or if this is a new thing.

In any case, we had a nice meal there. My observations are below:

We arrived at 7 pm on Saturday night prepared for a wait. The actual waiting time was almost 4 hrs which was a little longer than expected. The bar across the street had good English beers on tap, comfortable leather reclining chairs, pool, and football on TV. It was a perfect place to hang out before having pizza. Bar Bianco (next door) was a little quieter and stiffer but also pleasant.

We ordered the Rosa, the Wiseguy, the Sonny Boy, and the Biancoverde with prosciutto. The parmigiano reggiano on the Rosa made it extremely rich. It was a nice one slice change of pace, but I wouldn’t want to eat a whole Rosa pie. The other pies were all good but not significantly better than what you can get at places like Settebello in Las Vegas. Two of my friends thought the Gaeta olives detracted from the Sonny Boy but I liked them. We all thought that the fennel sausage on the Wise Guy was excellent but that the pie might have been nicer with fewer onions (although none of us are wild about onions).

The highlight of all the pizzas was the extremely thin crust and the overall texture. Other pizzas I’ve had in this style sometimes get soggy in the middle but this wasn’t a problem at PB.

Overall, I was glad to have tried PB but probably would not brave the wait to eat there again.

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Pizzeria Bianco
623 E Adams St, Phoenix, AZ 85004

Jan 18, 2010
Dhalsim in Phoenix

Namaste - LAS VEGAS

After hearing quite a bit of early praise I finally got around to trying Namaste. Let me add my vote to the pro-Namaste camp, my meal there was outstanding.

At $8.95, the lunch buffet is an incredible value. On my visit they had green tandori chicken, butter chicken, a mild lamb dish, about 6 vegetarian dishes (I remember 2 paneer dishes, a Dal dish, a cauliflower curry, and a crunchy mixed vegetable curry), a Mulligatawny soup, raita, basmati rice, rice cakes, salad, a desert, sour mango pickles and an assortment of sauces and condiments. The buffet also comes with 2 pieces of fresh naan that are almost worth the cost alone. But the buffet at Namaste doesn't just stand out in terms of variety. It's in the areas of taste and quality where Namaste truly separates itself. I sampled just about everything and didn’t find one loser among the bunch.

Namaste offers the buffet on Saturdays and Sundays too which is a nice bonus. Still haven't tried the dinner menu but I plan to soon. I hope Las Vegas supports this place, they really do deserve success.

Jan 15, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Saturday LUNCH in Vegas - in the same vein as Raku

Have you considered Rosemary's?

Jan 15, 2010
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

Help choosing AYCE Sushi (Las Vegas)

Haven't been to Sushi Mon or Island Sushi yet so hopefully others can help there.

The hand rolls at Oyshi are not a strong point. They don't toast the nori so they come out very chewy.

The hand rolls at Sushi Yama are excellent. I will also vouch for the quality of the nigiri and the fish/rice ratio. I have noticed that occasionally the rice is not as sticky as it ough to be but that is not the norm. The amosphere is pleasant and the servers are very friendly. They do have some hot items on the AYCE menu--I recall ordering mussels once--but I'm not sure if they have crab or oysters.

Oyshi is not bad, but I think Yama Sushi is significantly better.

Oct 16, 2009
Dhalsim in Las Vegas

All you can eat Sushi in Las Vegas?

I’ve been to Oyshi 5 or 6 times. It’s above average for AYCE sushi, but the food is a little inconsistent. They are new and seem to be improving. The last 2 times I went the fish was very fresh. As a side note when they opened they used to play nothing but 1990’s R&B. If you are a Ralph Tresvant fan or still have your posters of Boys II Men then this might be right up your alley. I found it a little strange. Now they seem to be playing exclusively techno. I will say that they have been very busy the last 3 times I’ve been.

My favorite AYCE sushi in town is by a pretty wide margin is Sushi Yama on Flamingo and Maryland.

Makino and Todai suffer from not making the sushi to order. They are a definite step down from the made to order places.

My least favorite AYCE sushi in town Sushi on Tropicana. That one isn’t good at all.

Aug 13, 2009
Dhalsim in Las Vegas