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RoanokeBen's Profile

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Fantastic Food, Service, and Value

So how do I put the name of the actual restaurant in the title of this post? Couldn't find that in the FAQ, edit isn't letting me change the title!

- Ben

Nov 06, 2010
RoanokeBen in Mid-Atlantic

Need Help With Chinese in/near Roanoke

Hey everyone:

Thanks to Chowhound, I've gotten a great appreciation for the various forms of Chinese food available - Cantonese, Sichuan, Hong Kong - you name it, and I'll make time on a business trip to hit whatever Chinatown is open until 1am in whatever city I'm in!

Unfortunately, I've found Roanoke to be a vast cultural wasteland for "authentic" Chinese food. It's so bad that at one restaurant (Taipei), my request to have a dish made with bok choy was met with blank stares.

Are there any places in Roanoke that have a "secret", more traditional Chinese menu that I'm missing? I know that in some other cities, Chinese restaurants have two menus - one for the Americans and one for the Chinese locals - and you have to ask to see the Chinese local menu.

Am I just missing a place entirely that servers authentic Chinese food of any major Chinese cuisine?

I'm hoping someone here can help me out. As far as I can tell, the closest I've found is visiting relatives in northern Virginia (A&J), and I'm not looking to make a four-hour ride just to grab spicy beef tendon soup :)

- Ben Bleiweiss

Nov 06, 2010
RoanokeBen in Mid-Atlantic

Fantastic Food, Service, and Value

Hey everyone:

I travel a ton for my job, and I've come to rely on Chowhound (along with Urbanspoon and Yelp) as a source of recommendations of restaurants across the United States. While I've quickly discovered that my favorite cuisine is Chinese (Cantonese best, followed by Hong Kong and then Szechuan), I'm always on the look out for great food of any culture. I figured that it was time for me to give back to these boards by posting about some of the spots I've found in my own back yard.

Horizon Bar and Grill is a relatively new entry into the Roanoke area. It's ill-named, because Horizon isn't so much a Bar and Grill as an unpretentious fine dining restaurant, with a slight (and I mean slight) lean towards French cuisine. Horizon has a constantly changing menu, featuring in-season soups, salads and appetizers which reflect whichever ingredients would be freshest during that time period. This means squash in the fall, and more fruit-driven fare in the warmer months.

The food at Horizon is a bargain, compared to several other options in the area. My wife and I have eaten at Horizon for dinner three times over the past three months, and have gone for lunch one time as well. A five-course meal (appetizer, soup, salad, main, desert) with alcohol has run us just north of $100 (usually in the $110-$120 range), and the food quality is comparable to the quality of food similar-type restaurants in more major cities I've visited. I'd equate the vibrancy and risk-taking of the menu choices to similar restaurants in Portland and Austin.

Main courses are appropriately portioned, and range from the signature Sweet Potato Enchilada dish, to Pork Rump, Sweet Crab Cakes, Sweatmeats, and more.

If you are going to be in Roanoke for business, or if you are a foodie in Roanoke who hasn't yet been, I'd run down there as soon as you can, and get a table. The greatest disservice of Horizon is the name (I wouldn't associate Bar and Grill with fine dining, personally), so I'm hoping some word of mouth will get those who care about good food on the right track!

- Ben Bleiweiss

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Horizon Bar & Grill
215 Market St SE, Roanoke, VA 24011

Nov 06, 2010
RoanokeBen in Mid-Atlantic

In Maui (Lahaina area) and want to eat without bankrupting my family!

Hey everyone:

Ben from Roanoke here (hence the board tag!) I'm in Lahaina for ten days with my wife, my dad, and his wife. We are looking for dinner options that won't end up costing us $40-$50 a meal (we are going to end up hitting Lahaina Grill for one meal, and potentially either Merriman's or Mala for another, but those are going to be our "big meals out"). Basically, we are looking for suggestions that are a "step down" from the super-high end places up here -

1) Local places that would be around the level of Outback in quality and price
2) Places that are a step above the Okazuya and Deli

So far, the places I've found are:

Hula Grill
Plantation House (for breakfast)
Honolua General Store (Lunch)
Foodland (For making dinner at our own condo a couple of nights)
Sansei's

We'd like to keep mainly in the Lahaina area (we'd go as far south as Olowalu, and as far North as Kapalua) and any suggestions that would make me a rock star with my family would be much appreciated! Thank you in advance!

- Ben

Dec 04, 2009
RoanokeBen in Hawaii

In SF for two days - looking for Chinese for Lunch and Dinner!

Thank you so much to everyone! Here's how our experiences went!

Our first meal was going to be King of Noodles on Irving Street for lunch on Wednesday. When we got there - surprise! King of Noodles is not open for lunch on either Wednesday or Thursday. Drats! Our backup plan ended up being Spices II. We got Crispy Shredded Pork (which was good), Salt and Pepper Chicken (also good), Chinese Mushroom with Bok Choy (highlight of this meal) and Numbing Cucumber (which was actually pickle, and not cucumber - I liked this one, but my wife was not as big a fan).

Wednesday night was dinner with relatives so off we were on Thursday to hit up Z&Y. This was a most excellent meal, with five of us going and getting pretty much every recommended dish on the menu - Tantan noodles were the absolute highlight, and the bean stems in garlic sauce were a hit. The Chicken with Exploding Chili was worth seeing, but the chicken itself was eh, and mostly we ended up sending home three full takeout boxes worth of noodles with one of our dining companions. The flavor here we found to be much better than Spices II, which tended to drown dishes in hot oil.

For dinner, we ended up at Jai Yun. WOW! 5 Stars, would absolutely recommend going here to anyone in the area. We called a day ahead for reservations, and ended up getting the $65 Prix Fixe for four. We were literally the only people there on Thursday night - at least two other parties came in off the street and were turned away because they didn't have reservations (which was impressive!)

Here's what we ended up getting:
First Course: "Appetizers", consisting of, on separate plates - Blackened Fish (my favorite of this round), Spicy Beef, Lotus, Tofu, Noodles, Chinese Vegetables, Radish, and Ginger.
The other "main" courses consisted of the following (in no particular order):

1) Spicy Squid
2) Lightly buttered shrimp, each braided like a corkscrew
3) Abalone (melt-in-my-mouth fresh)
4) Spicy Gluten (a spicy-and-sweet bread dish)
5) Fish and Tofu (didn't specify which fish)
6) Noodles and Tofu
7) Pork Ribs and Tofu Balls
8) Crispy Orange Beef (unlike any other orange beef I've ever had before; this was my wife's favorite)
9) Spicy Mushrooms
10) Spicy Chickens with Chinese Vegetables

You'll have to forgive me for not being more descriptive, because as advertised, nobody in the restaurant spoke English :) I can assure that A) while each individual portion does look small for a group of four, we all felt well-satisfied (both portions and quality of food) by the end of the meal, and B) despite the language barrier, the waitress we had was excellent at anticipating our needs (drink refills, fresh plates when previous plates would get too sauced from previous dishes). All in all - lived up to the hype.

Thanks again to everyone for their recommendations! I'm now in Lahaina, Maui and we are spending the next week with my dad and his wife - last big vacation before my wife and I have our firstborn in May! If anyone is ever in the Roanoke area, message me up and I'll have a lot of good recommendations in my area :)

- Ben

In SF for two days - looking for Chinese for Lunch and Dinner!

Thank you so much to everyone for your wonderful input! I think we are firmed up for Jai Yun (which sounds too good NOT to try) and King of Noodles. Will have to throw darts to decide between Panda Country Kitchen, Z&Y, Beijing Restaurant, and Spices II. I will get a report up here later in the week! (We are spending two days in San Francisco, and then going on to Maui for ten days!)

- Ben

In SF for two days - looking for Chinese for Lunch and Dinner!

So to update with what has been said so far:

SFO Proper:
1) Panda Country Kitchen (4737 Geary Blvd Station) - SZ, order the Spicy Wontons

2) Jai Yun (680 Clay Street) Prix Fixe menu, a little worried that it might be too seafood heavy for the wife. Call ahead for reservations a day in advance if we want in here.

OUTSIDE SFO:
3) LIly's House (Lafayette - 3555 Mt Diablo) - Shang-Chi City Style

4) Happy Golden Bowl (El Cerrito - 10675 San Pablo) - SZ, DDM specialty

5) ADD: Koi Palace (Daly City - 365 Gelllert Ave) - Cantonese Style

6) ADD: Daimo (Richmond - 3288A Pierce Street) - Cantonese Style

OFF:
Citrus Club (1790 Haight Street) - Noodle house, fusion. Recommended by a cousin. Are there better Noodle Houses or Fusion restaurants in the city?

NOTES:
1) No particular bias for/against Cantonese, other than the wife's avoidance for seafood. Will probably try to his one Szechuan place, one Cantonese place, and an "other" - not sure what that might be yet :)

2) Along those lines, Jai Yun will likely be the "other" if the menus that day are seafood "light" - but if not, all bets are off!

Thanks again for all your help!

In SF for two days - looking for Chinese for Lunch and Dinner!

Hey everyone:

Long time lurker, first time poster. My wife and I are going to be visiting relatives in San Francisco for two days on our way to Hawaii, and we're looking to get a mess of Chinese food while we're in the area. We will be in town this Wednesday and Thursday (12/2 and 12/3) and the sheer volume of reviews/recommendations on this board is overwhelming! I've grokked a bunch of ideas so far, so here's what I have! The groundwork:

1) Have car, will travel!

2) Wife is completely seafood avoidant, so if the specialty of your restaurant is Seafood, we'll take a pass (seafood can of course be part of the cuisine at the restaurant!)

3) We are a fan of the spice!

4) Looking for a sit-down restaurant!

Ok, here's what I have so far:

SFO Proper:
1) Panda Country Kitchen (4737 Geary Blvd Station) - SZ, order the Spicy Wontons

2) Jai Yun (680 Clay Street) Prix Fixe menu, a little worried that it might be too seafood heavy for the wife. Call ahead for reservations a day in advance if we want in here.

3) Citrus Club (1790 Haight Street) - Noodle house, fusion. Recommended by a cousin. Are there better Noodle Houses or Fusion restaurants in the city?

OUTSIDE SFO:
4) LIly's House (Lafayette - 3555 Mt Diablo) - Shang-Chi City Style

5) Happy Golden Bowl (El Cerrito - 10675 San Pablo) - SZ, DDM specialty

Additional Notes:
1) I am personally a fan of Spicy Beef Tendon (either as a soup, or as a course). Haven't found a place that has a stand-out Beef Tendon in my searches - any recommendations?

2) We are a big fan of Honey Toast. Yes, I know this is more of a Japanese desert dish, but if any places do Honey Toast, we'd be very interested in stopping by for desert.

3) Along the same lines - if there be no Honey Toast, yarrrr, recommendations for a stand-out desert would be great!

Thank you in advance! I've found some really stand-out restaurants through Chowhound in the past (Peach Farm in Boston, Payne's BBQ in Memphis, Sakura/Dim Sum Garden for Soup Dumplings in Philly, Woo Jung in Boxborough, MA), and I know y'all won't let me down :)

- Ben