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Dashi: Ramen and Izakaya open in Durham

Tom is correct. How it breaks down is yaki means cooked/grilled(but not boiled, for example), and tori means bird. In this context, it's also understood that it's always going to be chicken. "mono", in this sense, means "thing". So yakimono means "cooked thing".

I'm not gonna be coy. This is the single most anticipated restaurant for me. I moved here from Japan in the 90s when I was a teenager and I've been following these guys' progress since I read about some kind of pop-up restaurant either last year or maybe even 2013, and I've been checking their FB page regularly. One picture they posted a while back made me nervous, but I chalk it up to my having so much time to wonder/fantasize/worry about how this will turn out.

Feb 04, 2015
gryphon in Southeast

Kipos in Chapel Hill

I spent only two weeks there so I'm no expert but Kipos' offerings seem close enough to what I remember, although if I were to recall the most surprising thing about eating in Greece, it was that what I get here in the states is pretty close to what I got over there(though I did the normal island hopping thing so I'm sure I got the tourist-trap food).

What I don't agree with Greg Cox on is that it's that much better than the rest of Greek restaurants here, particularly Papas Grill(which is now Bleu Olive). Aside from the location and chic interior, I don't see this one being that much better than the others in terms of the food and drinks, though I concede I've only been to Kipos once and haven't tried nearly as many dishes as Cox did. I do think Kipos has the rest of dining experience covered better than the rest, though. I'm just skeptical, based on my one visit, if their food is distinguished enough to say that it's the best around. I will say, though, that I think I did like Papas Grill better than Bleu Olive for some reason I can't quite put my finger on.

For me, the the service was fine; it wasn't as bad as like some known popular restaurants around here, and it's not as distinguished as others. It's fine. I can't comment on their wine since I'm more of a liquor/girly cocktail guy and I had no problem with it. I do recall ouzo dominating the menu at the places I ate while in Greece(and again that could be a function of where I was eating), and it was always served with ice and I don't know if it's offered there, but I don't miss it that much.

I got bread while there unlike the OP, but you didn't miss much, FWIW. Overall I'm not opposed to going back, but I'd probably go back when school is out and parking is easier, which is my default stance on restaurants over there except for a few restos and on special occasions.

Probably the two things that stuck out the most is:
1. The food came out fast. Saganaki, the roasted lamb, everything. Now, I know that the stuff I ordered isn't exactly made to order so that's not that surprising, but the speed at which the food came out was more in line with Mexican restaurants with the best microwave ovens. Patrons can see the kitchen so I'm sure that's not what happened here(and it didn't taste microwaved) and I'm not complaining, but I was surprised. I should be pleased. I was!

2. Not as expensive as I thought it would be. Not complaining. I'm totally cool with this.

Dec 28, 2013
gryphon in Southeast

Big Bundts & More in Durham

Her bundt cakes are fantastic. Her freshly baked bundt cakes are as good a treat as any you can find in the area. When I ordered one specifically for an occasion, she timed it so it'd be finished right before I came to pick it up so I took it home while it was still warm. I think the only way that bundt cake would have been better is if I had eaten it while I was driving it home but that wouldn't have gone over well with Mrs Gryphon.

Jul 10, 2013
gryphon in Southeast

Closed: Korean grocery in Durham

I don't know for sure, but if it wasn't from the owner(s) retiring it I'd imagine it was because Li Ming's took too much of their business. Regardless of the reason it's too bad. I liked the people there.

Jun 12, 2013
gryphon in Southeast

Metro 8 in Durham still open?

Can't say enough good things about their churrasco. I think it's the best hanger steak around. I'm a ribeye-loyalist when it comes to steak; unless I'm at Metro 8. I can be talked into their empanadas/churrasco/chcolate mouse (and maybe a glass of malbec) any day.

Apr 02, 2013
gryphon in Southeast

Triangle Noodle Shops (Ramen, etc)

This is excellent news and I hope to try it soon. I just hope that they're not reheating Myojo noodles and serving them.

Feb 28, 2013
gryphon in Southeast

Greensboro dinner on a Saturday

Been to 3 out of 4 of those(haven't been to Liberty Oak).
I'm a big fan of Table 16. The owner puts out some creative and excellent meals there and it hurts me to say these nice things about a Carolina fan. For GSO downtown dining, I believe this is the finest choice.

I'm high on Undercurrent as well. Can't go wrong with either choices, although if you only get one dinner I'd go for Table 16.

I've been to ACC. I liked the food fine when I went there. The food is the highlight compared to other aspects of my experience.

Feb 01, 2013
gryphon in Southeast

Is Rise in Southpoint worth the wait?

Short answer, no. We went there 15 minutes before the closing time last weekend, and there was no wait. We got 4 donuts to go. I love donuts and I will always prefer non-chain over chain options. I enjoyed their donuts and plan to return for their donuts as well as non-donuts. Here's my take:

I'm into head-to-head comparisons, so we got what I thought are the similar doughnuts that we'd find at DD(boston creme equiv and chocolate frosted) or KK(glazed and some filling).

It's very easy to tell the difference between Rise's doughnuts and DD/KK donuts. I'm completely comfortable saying that. I'm willing to accept that Rise's offerings are superior based on the difference between those donuts. What I'm also thinking is that I wouldn't wait in line as long as is being reported here or elsewhere, or drive longer to get to Rise(there's a DD closer to me on Erwin Rd). That's no knock on them and has more to do with donuts being a small deal in our foodie life(compared to an excellent meal somewhere 30 mins away, for example).

Dec 11, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Japanese pancakes in Triangle area?

It's good and pretty authentic. I do remember getting less of it all in Japan(the pancake, meat, etc), but I won't complain about getting more of the good stuff.

Nov 24, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Memorable Italian in Charleston?

Fulton Five.

Nov 03, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Yamazushi in Woodcroft Shopping Center, Durham, NC

I have always enjoyed my meals at Yamazushi for their non-sushi dishes. I've always known that they have placed more emphasis on stuff Greg Cox is talking about, although I remember their menu going more towards the middle, closer to izakaya stuff than kaiseki, and I've enjoyed it, so I'm not surprised to hear that their sushi wasn't anything special.

This change in focus, apparently aiming higher in execution and price, is a fairly recent thing. I go there seldom enough to notice the change.

Oct 01, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Triangle Noodle Shops (Ramen, etc)

My favorite jan pong is at China Express. I know the name of the place makes it suspect and I'm not korean but that's my favorite in the area. I order mine korean/spicy/large.

I think Tai Pei cafe is run by the same folks who used to run Ma Ma Wok. Their spicy beef noodle soup should be pretty good. That used to be my go-to there.

Of course, what I really wish for is a ramen noodle shop and there's none in the area.

Sep 13, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Eating out with a baby-Triangle/Triad NC

I'm curious as well. Since you're posting on this forum I assume you're not into chains. I was not. We had our first baby girl exactly 7 weeks ago, and leading up to her due date we crammed in as many hip/fine dining as we could.

Now that we have her, we haven't been back to the Nana's and Lanterns of the area. We're scared to be the rude parents with a screaming monster. Although I do have a theory now that a baby/newborn might do pretty well in a fairly noisy restaurant. I hear it's common for a baby to find it easy to sleep when surrounded by white noise, and that's been my observation with my girl. I'll tell you where we've been since she was born. I'm assuming it's not the list you're looking for:

1. Cici's - We fit right in.
2. Mellow Mushroom. She pretty much slept through the dinner. No problem to report.
3. Moe's - There's a changing table the bathroom.
4. Vita - I believe this is the only independently owned restaurant we've taken her so far. We went there because I remember there being outdoor seating, and I figured we'd annoy fewer people. It worked out just like that, but she was mostly asleep. And when she cried we were outside so one of us could entertain her pretty freely. If I were to comment on the food, I'd say that the cocktails were weak and the pasta(dry)/pizza(bland) were so-so, but people were nice, and I enjoyed the bruschetta and I'm no bruschetta fan. I believe bruschetta is actually an italian slang for "waste of $7-$9", but here it was pretty good(and actually it was like $5). I have no idea how authentic it is. I like how they used the oil, vinegar, garlic and tomato on this one. Perhaps drenched, is how I'd describe it, but in a good way and it wasn't soggy. Also, it's pretty cheap. $41 plus tip for 2 drinks, 1 app and 2 entrees.
5. Mateo - Went there while MIL was watching our baby. I don't see it as a baby-friendly place.

Sep 04, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

The Angus Barn - Raleigh, NC

It is old school indeed. The salad bar could use some updating. Their sides are so-so. Their meat is sometimes spectacularly tender, and sometimes just pretty good(is there such thing as a bad ribeye? I don't think so!)

It is, I believe, the only place around here where you can have the meat brought out to you before it's cooked, and you can tell them how thick you want it and I'm a sucker for that schtick. There's always a part of me that wonders if I'm being charged the right amount(because you tell them you want a 34oz and the guy cuts it and cooks it, and there's no scale anywhere), but our bills have always seemed reasonable and the portion in line with what we've seen at other steakhouses, so I never felt it was a problem.

I finished that 34oz steak, and my buddy his 36oz, though he cheated by having it cooked down to almost nothing by ordering it medium-well, and they were kind enough to give us free ice cream. Nice folks and good steak.

Aug 26, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Good lunch spot near Greensboro Coliseum

The following are all on High Point road.

Stamey's. I'm not into pulled bbq so I'd never go, but that gets mentioned a lot.

Beef burger is an institution, though it may not actually be all good. The variety(spam burger, crab cake sandwich, pork chop sandwich, super burger, the list goes on and on). cash-only.

My mom(Japanese) likes Akashi for non-sushi Japanese dishes, though it's no knock on their sushi. She just isn't all that into sushi. I think it's alright. This is not a Japanese steakhouse.

Villa del Mar - mexican restaurant. The regular corn tortilla/tortas kind of place. carnitas, al pastor, etc, etc.

Saigon bakery - Vietnamese subs
Saigon - different restaurant, but serves Vietnamese/thai food.

I love/heart(?) Pho. They serve pho/bun among other dishes.

I think I listed these in the order of distance from Greensboro Coliseum. Only Beef burger is towards downtown GSO. The rest are towards I-40.

Personally, I'd go with villa del mar.

Aug 17, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

CrossRoads Red Robin location in Cary NC


Jul 31, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Another Broken Egg Cafe in Cary (maybe Durham). Anyone tried?

We've been to the Durham site. I'm a big eggs benedict fan so I was happy to try it. I ordered the crabcake cavallo. The poached eggs were done perfectly, but the crabcakes were kinda mediocre. The breading was disappointing. It was overly soggy and maybe gloppy, kind of like Church's scoop biscuits, but not in a good way, is how I'd describe it. But I love egg dishes so I'll go back to try something else.

It's a chain but this is not a cheap breakfast chain. Between my wife's dish(veggie benedict), mine, a bowl of grits and a glass of OJ it came at to be about $40 w/ tip.

Apr 30, 2012
gryphon in Southeast

Vegetarian around Durham, NC?

My vegetarian wife likes Pomegranate Kitchen, and, as a non-vegetarian I think a lot of their dishes are pretty good.

A couple of things to I remember:
1. They don't take credit card.
2. This place is pretty much a take-out/catering place. Not the place for 10-20 people to hang out.
3. They close pretty early(around 6 or 6:30) and I was told more than once it's best to pick up their food in the afternoon because that's when they cook their food or it's warm or something along those lines.

Jan 03, 2012
gryphon in Southeast